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A meaty, bloody slab o’ satire.

Schuyler (“Sky”) Thorne is one of the big muckety-mucks at Tailburger, a chain of hamburger joints that gives health nuts triple coronaries just thinking about them. Their main product, “four batter-dipped, deep-fried patties of red meat and a bun, held together by five generous dollops of Cajun-style mayonnaise,” holds a decent but unremarkable slice of America’s drive-through burger business and it’s up to Sky to bring the company around with a blistering new ad campaign. Badgered by Tailburger founder Frank Fanoflincoln (he changed his last name after becoming a Civil War buff), Sky decides to stop pretending that Tailburgers (and the ever-popular meat-flavored shake the Tailfrap) are good for people and dreams up the “Torture Your Body” idea. Things look pretty good for Sky at first. He signs up Lakers lummox Jelloteous Junderstack as spokesman and talks film auteur Ship Plankton into inserting Tailburger into the plot of his new movie, Dongwood. Things take a turn for the worse, however, when Jello’s health hits a few cholesterol-fueled snags, Dongwood reveals itself to be a massive flop, and the rabid lobbying group and challenged spellers SERMON (“Stop Eating Red Meat Now”) files a class-action lawsuit against Tailburger. In the middle of it all, Sky gets involved with Muffett Meaney, SERMON’s zealous but libidinous leader. To prevent Tailburger from completely bottoming out, Sky approaches his friend Cal Perkins, who, unbeknownst to most everyone but Sky, has made his millions in adult entertainment (everyone else thinks he runs a wholesome jam business). Thus is born the “Nail Some Tail Sweepstakes.” O’Dwyer, a healthcare-industry lawyer, knows that subtlety is not the way to play this and so paints Red Meat Cures Cancerwith broad, primary strokes burnished with a healthy dose of ribaldry.

Like Christopher Buckley without the subtlety, O’Dwyer’s first vaults over any ideas of good taste into a realm of deep-fried comic genius.

Pub Date: Nov. 12th, 2002
ISBN: 0-9721624-5-3
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Midnight Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2002