Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Done: "Rake" by Scott Phillips

Done: Rake by Scott Phillips, 2013, 9781619021518.

More brilliance by Phillips with another self absorbed, sex obsessed, asshole-without-a-conscience as protagonist.  Phillips excels at these self-absorbed and conscience-less guys.  Dudes who live for sex and booze and their own well-being.  They do feel some guilt and realize he should not have

Wait a minute.  Does the protagonist, an actor, ever give his name?  I don't think he does.  This is all first person and he only identifies himself with the name of his most famous character in France, Dr. Crandall Taylor.  Taylor was a lead in a minor U.S. soap opera that runs in prime time syndication in France.  The show is a huge hit and Taylor loooooves the attention.  He loves that people recognize him on the street and talk to him in shops.  He looooves that people ask for his autograph or medical advice.  He reaaaaallllly loves how he gets laid all the time with all sorts of gorgeous women.  He loves that normally restrained women go ga-ga for a celebrity actor.

Crandall is in Paris for no particular reason but looking to make a movie.  What kind of movie?  Well, he hasn't gotten that far but his name is so big and high profile he can surely find a backer. He meets with an executive from the French TV network running the soap and is hoping to get them to back a feature film.

Crandall also engages in fisticuffs.  You learn that he had a bad upbringing and a violent life.  Once he started acting he channeled that anger into his perfromances but he'll still break another persons bones now and then.  Crandall recalls bragging at his anger management group therapy how he hadn't been arrested or assault and battery for 15 years.

Anyway.  Crandall ends up screwing three different French women and one American porn star.  All the women know about each other.  Two are married, one is a student, and the porn star used to work on the soap opera. One married woman's husband may finance the picture.  Crandall starts winging it with getting a story for the film  He goes into a bookstore figuring to find a novel and option it.  Instead he meets a store clerk who just wrote a novel.  Crandall talks him into writing a script.  Without pay.

More things happen.  The husband tries to kill Crandall.  Crandall subdues him and kidnaps him.  A couple of the women and the screenwriter help keep the husband captive and then help kill him.  Everything ends happily.  Except for two dead guys and the several people Crandall beats down.

1.  Major lack of Wichita lore.  Okay, I understand that in this one.
2.  Gratuitous reference to film version of The Ice Harvest.
3.  Crandall is a masters degree graduate of Anthony Neil Smith's current employer.
4.  Great stuff and a fun novel with plenty of black humor.

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