His famed Isaac Sidel saga (Citizen Sidel, 1999, etc.) on hold, Charyn explores the equally bizarro world of Jocko Robinson, the 97th richest man on earth. At least, that’s what he was on the day an assassin’s bullet missed ending his life by a tenth of an inch. Comatose for six months, Jocko wakes to find that the miracle of compound interest has moved him up to 78 on the fat-cat list. The source of all this wealth? Jocko’s the creator-producer of Lamplighter, now in its seventh year of syndication and bidding fair to become the most popular TV show in history. Instead of bringing him happiness, however, success has plunged him deep into Weltschmerz: He’s bored, disenchanted, at loose ends—until he meets the Hurricane Lady, green-eyed ex-high-fashion model Katinka Baer (“built like a child with breasts”), as irresistible as she is elusive. And just like that, Jocko’s a new man—alive, invigorated, up to his eyeballs in love. But Katinka has as much baggage as any of Charyn’s other femmes fatales, and as Jocko chases his willowy will-o’-the-wisp from the East Coast to the West, to Europe and back, he enters a world peopled almost entirely by mobsters, murderers, and other malingerers. It’s a world in which nothing is connected to anything else or makes much sense to anyone involved, including the reader—in short, a Charynoscope.
Even more disjointed than usual: a style that once seemed refreshing in its eccentricity now courts impatience like a one-trick pony turned just a little too frisky.