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by Pete Johnson

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4363-6962-6

A spoof novel on the IRS, the American legal system and the perversion of language at the hands of politicians and the bureaucracy.

Andy “Claw-Claw” Clauson is a pro-football hero turned industrialist, a Southern California Rotarian and family man, and–if one is to believe the IRS investigators who hunt him down–a vicious ruffian and reprehensible IT (Intransigent Taxpayer). Agents William Warmblood and Barney “Taxcatcher” Flowers, the eponymous Wolves, will stop at nothing to get their man. They charge Andy with assault after William beats him up and they place him under surveillance then accuse him of murder when he accidentally runs over the IRS agent hiding under his car. Additionally, they ruin Andy’s chances of securing business financing, intimidate his suppliers and seize his factory. They tap his phone and paper him half to death with “a rich and varied harvest” of tax forms, unintelligible notices, bogus assessments and even an anonymous letter exposing his wife’s infidelities with–you guessed it–his lawyer. William and Barney–the former a slimy ladies’ man with a perfect tan and aviator glasses, the latter a fussy bureaucrat who brings a fanatical self-righteous fervor to his job–steal the show. As the plot moves from one outrageous situation to the next, euphemisms and acronyms proliferate (SAP, TRAP, RIP, RIPE) and the deadpan dialogue and interior monologues continue to delight. The narrative drags a bit in some places; jolting time-shifts create distractions in others, as do obscure references and errors of grammar and word choice. Despite an ending which challenges suspension of disbelief and in which excessive violence fractures the tone, this is good fun.

Pertinent satire.