GOOD VIBES by Jay Cronley


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Cronley (Fall Guy, 1978) uses a motley assortment of faintly Runyonesque characters and routines to make a short novel out of one of the oldest shortstory formulas around: the compulsive gambler who one day lucks into a winning streak and insanely keeps betting all his winnings over and over. Here it's two cabdrivers (and perennial losers) named Trotter and Looney who go to the track, and it's Trotter who (based on some shady inside info) bets $50 on a dark horse and wins $710. Will he let it ride? You bet--and wins $2450. By now, Trotter's sitting in a box, hiding the money in his shoe, hobnobbing with the Jockey Club types (some fracases ensue). And by now his fed-up wife Para has arrived, trying to keep some of that newly won dough safe. But that doesn't stop Trotter from betting it all again, on a randomly chosen horse, which of course nets him $69,000. And so on. . . with the time between races filled in with whimsical betting rules and advice; with a supporting cast of touts, barflies, doxies (much tired ado about a well-filled blouse bursting); and with jokes on the order of ""jewelry that looked like it had been made by the Cleveland Indians."" A padded, marginally amusing day at the races--there's a terrific old Bert Lahr short that does the whole thing in about a tenth the time--for indulgent chucklers and track enthusiast only.

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 1979
Publisher: Doubleday