Razzmatazz: A Novel
If you stumble into the muddled and dangerous world of San Francisco in 1947 in Christopher Moore’s latest book Razzmatazz, a sequel to his earlier novel Noir, be prepared to re-read some passages and scratch your head a time or two or four or fifty as the story unfolds.
Sammy, a bartender who often finds himself at the heart of criminal dealings, spends the novel trying to figure out who’s responsible for the recent rash of murders of local drag kings. His buddy, Jimmy Vasco, is certain she’s next, and Sammy’s undercover cop girlfriend Stilton—aka Cheese—is also on the case when she isn’t building a metal monstrosity that may or may not have ties to aliens, dinosaurs, robots, Chinese traditions and folklore, or all of the above. Still with me? Now throw in flashbacks to a theft forty years ago of a precious artifact, an unyielding Catholic head of the vice squad, a Swedish cuckold, and the attempt to restore an opium den to its rightful owner, and you’re almost ready to read the book.
I love Moore but found this one too over the top with the noir-lingo and too convoluted in terms of the storyline to feel fully invested in the book. In the interests of full disclosure, though, I haven’t read Noir, and if I had, my experience with this book may have been better. If you like a rollicking whodunit with a side of fantasy, you are sure to love this book, but maybe keep a notebook handy early on to keep track of the cavalcade of characters.
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