Let There Be Linda by Rich Leder

Let There Be Linda

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Estranged brothers have a chance to reconcile when pursued by a ruthless loan shark and faced with caring for their mother, just back from the dead, in Leder’s (Juggler, Porn Star, Monkey Wrench, 2014, etc.) comic thriller.

Talent agent Danny Miller owes a hefty chunk of change to the sadistic Harvey Mineral and his muscle, Omar Creech. But Danny gets an idea from Jenny Stone, seeking representation for her (literally) unbelievable ability to bring dead things back to life. Danny has seen Jenny’s power work and knows some people will pay top dollar to have a loved one returned. Like Danny’s dentist, Donald Greenburg, who lost his cherished poodle, Chachi, to Harvey’s cruelty. Danny brings in accountant brother Mike, recently unemployed after his firm cut him loose due to accusations of embezzlement. Donald unfortunately foots the $75,000 resurrection bill by borrowing from Harvey, so the loan shark and Omar are keeping close eyes on the cash. Likewise interested in the money are cop/stand-up comic Gary Shuler and insane real estate developer Judd Martin, who blames Mike for bankrupting him. To combat Danny and Mike’s endless bickering, stemming from Mike’s swearing to late mom Linda that he’d look after Danny, Jenny suggests bringing Linda back to release Mike from his oath. But Jenny’s service has a side effect: Linda and Chachi are decidedly more aggressive than usual—and occasionally lethal. The novel is a zany tale that tosses logic out the window: Mike, for example, is honor-bound by the oath but not bothered by stealing Linda’s body from the mortuary. Leder’s breezy, tongue-in-cheek narrative is a zombie story in which the walking dead aren’t even the biggest threat. A few jokes are repetitive, like references to Mike’s weight; Omar incessantly calls him Moby Dick. But off-kilter characters result in hysterical antics. Gary steals the spotlight: he willingly acknowledges his Oreos addiction and voluntarily puts himself in danger (including a dunk in a piranha tank) for material to use in his stand-up. The final act goes for the jugular, thanks to the welcome introduction of a chain saw, while a possible love triangle between Jenny and the brothers takes a cheeky turn.

An irreverent novel that gleefully spins the plot into preposterousness.

Publisher: Laugh Riot Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
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