The heroes from Jennings’s whimsical 2005 Nam-A-Rama pop up in mid-1970s Mexico, where the president’s life is on the line and the world’s prostitutes have revolution on the brain.
Jack Armstrong is again the straight man in this peppy and cynically cheerful look at what could happen if the whores ran the bordello. Now working for the CIA, Armstrong is the temporary officer in charge of the CIA office at Mexico City’s American embassy, but he’s about to be replaced by Major Crenshaw, a fanatical Catholic who has just arrived in town riding on a burro ready to implement a bizarre personal agenda. Also just arriving is Jack’s relentlessly droll chum Gearhardt, who has at last acquired a first name: “Pepe,” as the many ladies of the evening who populate the great city insist on calling him. Jack is pleased but plenty surprised to see his old chum. Gearhardt was said to have died three years ago, and life’s been lonely without him. Life’s also been simpler. Gearhardt complicates everything and explains nothing. For example, he fails to explain why Marta, the gorgeous and spectacularly endowed Cuban lass he installs in Jack’s apartment, spends her every waking hour in the nude. Or why she has a pistol strapped to her thigh. Nor does he explain believably why it would be a really good idea for Jack to talk a thuggish acquaintance of Marta’s into shooting the president of Mexico at the city’s Cinco de Mayo celebration. The story that finally emerges has to do with a plot to blame Cuba for the assassination, thereby opening the island to legitimate invasion. Well, that’s one explanation. Poor Jack gets dragged all over central Mexico as details emerge. Eventually, he comes to understand that Gearhardt has become the ally of the world’s prostitutes and has in mind a sort of Zionist solution for them.
Jennings is still no threat to Christopher Buckley, and he’s a little too long-winded, but amusing.