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    Review of KILL TWO BIRDS & GET STONED by Kinky Friedman (see his website)

    William Morrow, April 2003

    Novelist Walter Snow hasn't been able to write a word in seven years when he meets a beautiful woman with a strange request. Will he put a package for her into his safety deposit box. Walter isn't sure what he is getting into and doesn't particularly care. The woman, Clyde, is beautiful, Walter is bored, and when he sees Clyde, he begins to feel faint hints of his old urge to write. The arrival of the police two weeks later doesn't especially surprise Walter. What does please him, however, is that Clyde zooms back into his life, along with her larger than life friend Fox. The two sweep Walter into their world of scams, Quixotic gestures, and ultimately a battle for the soul of New York (against the souless Starbucks and Donald Trump).

    Author Kinky Friedman (see more reviews of novels by Friedman) uses the narative device of a story within a story--Walter tells his story, occasionally slipping in the (rather bad) text of the semi-autobiographical and semi-wish-fulfilment novel that Walter is presumably writing. Friedman's thoughts on writing are occasionally brutal, frequently true, and sometimes hysterical to the point where I considered listing this review in my writing reviews rather than in the mystery section. But it is the characters and the quest that drive this book and that ultimately make it worth reading.

    Unlike Walter, Clyde and Fox are a little too good for this world and Friedman lets us know that their endings will not be happy. Yet their goals are partly noble. The way that the quest ultimately backfires hits with an emotional impact, yet could have been predicted from the start. After all, Fox and Clyde only take on lost causes.

    If you're looking for knee-slapping humor, this may not be the right Friedman story for you. But if you're looking for Friedman's attempt to really say something about our world, then KILL TWO BIRDS & GET STONED is a great place to start.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 11/21/03

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