COLD CALLER by Jason Starr


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In the two years since he got fired from his job as vice president at a New York ad agency, Bill Moss has made ends meet by a part-time telemarketing job for the grandly named American Communications Association. By day he forces himself to excel at the job he hates doing for penny-ante bosses (bureaucrats who could have stepped from the pages of Dilbert) whom he hates even more; each night he goes home to his girlfriend Julie, who wishes he would convert to Judaism; when their sex life goes into hibernation, Bill fantasizes about prostitutes. Most of the time, his bottled rage seems like nothing more than the psychopathology of everyday life, but a spectacularly unguarded remark at a dinner with two of Julie’s stuffy college friends makes it obvious just how explosively he can act out. In fact, Bill is a disaster waiting to happen; it’s only a matter of time before his murderous temper, whose eruptions he describes with disarming matter-of-factness, leads him to real murder. (Wait till you see who he kills.) The act leads him to a series of halfhearted attempts at concealment, and, inevitably, to a further spiral of violence before the postman rings twice in the highly appropriate ending. Starr’s unsettlingly funny debut, running as hot and cold as Bill’s moods, is just the thing for fans who miss the acid noir that Jim Thompson dispensed in The Grifters.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-393-31767-6
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Norton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1998


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