Kirkus Reviews QR Code
SALTY by Mark Haskell Smith

SALTY

By Mark Haskell Smith

Pub Date: June 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-8021-7034-7
Publisher: Black Cat/Grove

Thai pirates kidnap a chubby ex–rock star’s supermodel squeeze.

Turk Henry, Gene Simmons’s psychic twin and former bassist for the chart-topping Metal Assassin, is vacationing in Phuket, Thailand, home to spicy noodles and spicier hookers. But the recovering sex addict is bored. Massively endowed and miniaturely-brained, Turk is a dolt for whom “ice cold beer” are the “three greatest words in the English language.” He’s in Thailand at the behest of Sheila, ex-Vogue girl crowding 30 and, partied out, now settling for security in a tolerably cheerless covergirl/rockgod marriage. They’re dysfunctional yin/yang: He’s comfortably numb; she digs Deepak and adventure. The latter arrives in the form of Captain Somporn, yeoman of a crew of Johnny Depp–style buccaneers and a hunk himself, a “beach bum Chow Yun Fat.” He abducts Sheila for big-bucks ransom; she develops a Stockholm-Syndrome crush on the matey, who’s no thug but a salacious aesthete, content to watch her bathe her alabaster tush. Yanked from torpor by a Galahadian impulse, Turk aims at rescue, contacting an American government flunkie who absurdly tells him that Uncle Sam won’t negotiate with terrorists—and then makes off with the ransom. Also “aiding” Turk are his hilariously venal manager, various publicists who want the scoop for People and Turk’s punky-chic, good-girl personal assistant, who eventually masters her lust for her boss via same-sex bliss with a hooker. Smith (Delicious, 2003, etc.) alternates spoofy, lush travel-writer prose with dead-on dialogue and jibes at the lives of the undeservedly privileged.

A romp to relish.