A hapless repo man’s quest for a defalcating consumer turns personal in Gavin’s debut, a testosterone-fueled romp.
Nick Reid is just minding his own business, putting the bite on Percy Dwayne Dubois for the 42-inch flat-screen TV he’d missed three payments on, when Percy Dwayne lays him out with a fireplace shovel and helps himself to Nick’s wallet and cell phone and the 1969 calypso coral Ford Ranchero he’s driving. Because the car isn’t even Nick’s—it was the pride and joy of Gil Jarvis, the late husband of the landlady who loaned it to Nick while his own wheels were under the weather—Nick chivalrously vows to retrieve it in mint condition. Enlisting the help of Desmond, a hulking African-American colleague, he slips the traces of K-Lo, his enraged Lebanese boss, and high-tails it after Percy Dwayne, his wife Sissy and their diapered baby PD Jr. His sort-of-plan is to head to Yazoo City, the reputed home of Luther Dubois, who just might be a relation. Percy Dwayne, meantime, has other plans. Calling Nick using his own cell phone, he offers to ransom the Ranchero back to him. All these plans come to naught when a meth cooker named Guy runs off with Sissy, PD Jr. and the car. It’s not clear whether Sissy, like Helen of Troy, is cooperating with her abductor. In fact, nothing much involving psychology or narrative causality is ever all that clear. What’s certain is that no one normal will appear and nothing normal will happen until Nick catches up with the Ranchero—maybe not even then.
Forget comparisons to other books. The closest you’ve ever come to Nick’s experience is sitting in a Florida drive-in theater circa 1958.