It's a daunting task for a writer to make a title like Night of the Avenging Blowfish make perfect sense, but in his fine second novel John Welter (Begin to Exit Here, 1992) does so with Çlan. Secret Service agent Doyle Coldiron suspects he may be cracking up. Or at least having a nervous breakdown. What he is sure of is that he's lonely, and the only person who could save him, Natelle, a White House secretary, is married. So Doyle spends his time drinking with his fellow agents at their favorite bar, planning a covert baseball game against their arch rivals, the CIA: The time and location are classified (even the players don't know). When Doyle hears about a disgruntled White House chef's plan to serve canned luncheon meat at a formal state dinner, he decides not to take any action, partially because he wants to see how well the plan might work. Doyle could not have foreseen the aftermath, which includes a public reaction manifesting itself in tons of canned luncheon meat being sent to the White House; death threats by animal rights activists; and Doyle's own demotion from protecting the president to protecting a drunken ambassador from an island nation so small it must be penciled in to the map at hand. While all of this irreverent madness is delivered with great wit and humor, Welter retains firm control of the true story in his novel: one man's search for love in the '90s. Doyle's quest for romantic and spiritual love is bittersweet, surprisingly poignant, and, guided by Welter's sure hand, always emotionally true. Sometimes silly and frequently downright strange, this novel is full of insights into modern love that sneak up on the reader amid a lot of pleasantly off-kilter zaniness, making Night of the Avenging Blowfish a fun and satisfying read.