Tuesday, May 23, 2006

SHOTGUN OPERA, Victor Gischler

I've been a fan of Victor Gischler ever since his first book, GUN MONKEYS. He works the same darkly outrageous end of the spectrum as Carl Hiaasen, with the requisite acts of ultra-violence being perpetrated by unusual, occasionally bizarre characters. Gischler, however, trends a little more towards the dark, which is all to the good, as far as I'm concerned. He also likes to set the jolly mayhem in settings where you'd least expect it. This time it's the Oklahoma wine country, and yes, I'm as surprised as you are to learn that there is such a thing.

The Foley Brothers, Mike and Dan, were once the Mob's premier hit team. Mike was the virtouso of the Thompson submachine gun. But one day, Mike lost his nerve after accidentally killing a small child. So he retired to make wine in the wilds of Oklahoma. Until one day, Dan's son Andrew turns up, on the run from some Very Bad People set upon him by a shadowy figure after Andrew saw something that no one was supposed to. Mike has to dust off his Tommy gun and other tools of the trade to survive and to protect the people he's come to care about.

I'll admit that the three lethal sisters that comprise the core of the team pursuing Andrew are a bit over the top. The scene where Nikki, the leader, is introduced reminds me of one of the Transporter films in its physics-defying insanity. But hey, I loved those movies. They're fun. They keep the action so fast and wild, you don't have time to go 'hey, wait a minute...' And so does SHOTGUN OPERA. Check it out.


For The Trees said...

Ah. Action overriding plot. Too fast to figure out characterization. This certainly sounds like another Dan Brown "DaVinki Coda" in the works. A great, GREAT screenplay treatment. Sure to make millions when it hits the no-longer-silver-but-now-just-white

God, do you ever have good ideas! Or was this Victor's idea?

JD Rhoades said...

Hmmm...interesting change in tone from your last comment.

No, action doesn't "override" plot in SO...let's say, more accurately that the pace aids the suspension of disbelief. And yet, Gischler still provides enough characterization that you care what heppens to the people.

Finally, no, I've never met Victor.I probably will this weekend, though.

Good luck.

Stephen Blackmoore said...

Action overriding plot? I doubt it. I haven't picked up Shotgun Opera, yet, but the rest of Gischler's work is very plot oriented.

Gun Monkeys has a lot of action, certainly, but the characters are well realized, the twists are always surprising and the humor runs throughout.

Same with Suicide Squeeze and The Pistol Poets. Great books all.