TOOTH AND NAIL by John B. Spencer


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For his third US publication, Spencer (Perhaps She’ll Die!, 1997, etc.) has assembled a dream cast of sociopaths and misfits. Darren Friend passes the time between window installations by forgetting to pay the taxman and dipping into the till; together with his classy current bird, Kiren Fleming, he’s invented a game that involves not moving even when he and she really want to. Reggie Crystal likes a little self-administered asphyxia to spice up his sex life. Kevin Frost, once he catches his ex-wife Michelle in bed with his boss Eric Dunlop, can’t stop thinking about how she looked, and soon he’s neglecting his pregnant bride Monica (whom he married when Michelle found him out and divorced him) for the nostalgic embraces of Michelle. Duncan Ross, advertising manager for the West London Post, thinks he’ll die if he doesn’t get Eric’s wife Carol into bed after one of their lunches out of the office. When Rosy Reece-Morgan refuses to pay Darren for the bay windows he’s installed, he beats her so badly she ends up in the hospital, but that’s all right: her husband Terry has come to prefer boys anyway. Hovering alongside all these jittery dreamers is Stoney Todd, the half-wit who’s more likely to survive than the smart money. As the cast is listening to Elvis, watching the telly, rolling joints, and coupling, the anomie thick enough to be cut with a chainsaw, their furious energy leaks away, and then the book is over, with much sound and fury but without much real action. Pity.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1998
ISBN: 1-899344-31-4
Page count: 184pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1998


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