MOIST by Mark Haskell Smith

MOIST

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A slacker sloughs his life as a pathology tech and finds fulfillment as an apprentice to a Mexican crimelord in LA.

Screenwriter Smith is the latest entrant in the How Hard Can It Be To Knock Off Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen In One Slim Crime Novel? contest. The obligatory grotesquery here is the detached arm of Amado, a career criminal thinking about a career change. He’s been working with soulful and long-time overlord Esteban Sola, but his last outing, when he tangled with an overhead garage door while offing a traitorous underling, left a pornographically adorned arm on the floor of the crime scene. That arm is in the custody of Bob, low-energy forensic pathology lab tech, who’s become obsessed with the beauty of the orgasmic gal etched into it. Before Bob can get the analyzed limb to the cops, he’s snatched by Esteban’s strike force, who decide they need to swap the criminal arm for a clean one before it goes back to the cops. Selected for brachial detachment is a dweeby cookbook author who’s been receiving lessons in enhanced masturbation from Bob’s ex-girlfriend Maura, a sex therapist who is about to discover her own passion for pistols when she is grilled and then, well, drilled by detective Don, a cop whose career goal is the elimination of Esteban from the LA crime scene. Bob would be a goner if it were up to Martin, Esteban’s Ivy League lieutenant, a sourpuss whose criminal skills have solidified Esteban’s finances but have failed to win Esteban’s heart. Oddly enough it’s Bob who win’s the old boss’s affections in various demonstrations of pluck and ardor. The ardor really shows up when Amado makes it possible for Bob to meet beautiful Felicia, the real-life girl tattooed on that arm in the cooler.

Swift enough and good-natured, though it never quite lifts off.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-312-30364-5
Page count: 320pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2002




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