Wagstaff, a modern Renaissance man, believes the universe speaks to him through images of film scenes as he follows clues that lead him to humorous, harrowing situations.
Berkin puts popular culture to the test as Professor Wagstaff, a lecturer of film and art (among various other professions), sets out to solve a mystery. Wagstaff luckily has some very powerful friends, and Rafik, his superior at an ambiguous government entity, supports him in his unorthodox method of investigation. Upon discovering some “copies of The Third Man in a succession of yard sales,” Wagstaff believes the universe is sending him upon his next adventure, and when he discovers that Rob, the IT guy, has disappeared, Wagstaff decides it’s his duty to locate him. Upon this quest, films begin to overlap and the clues lead him to discoveries that may help him save the world from an evil plan of domination. Wagstaff has many friends through his connections as a professor, and his beloved former students often step in to help him along the way. Everyone is aware of his unique methods, and many, even Wagstaff himself at times, know he’s eccentric and possibly insane, but they all seem to accept this about him. His inherent flaws are endearing, and he overlooks much else to focus on the role of film in his next adventure. The book reads like a script as Wagstaff self-deprecatingly narrates his exploits. And true to silver-screen format, there are explosions, sexual tension, big money, plot twists and lowbrow humor. Berkin pulls out all the stops; no big screen moment is lost in this tale.
A quirky conglomeration of popular culture that’s worth the price of admission.