wally's Reviews > The Shark-Infested Custard

The Shark-Infested Custard by Charles Willeford
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Jan 10, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: willeford
Read from January 09 to 10, 2012

this will be the 2nd willeford for me...sideswipe the 1st...and that recently

it started out as a kind of joke, and then it wasn't funny any more because money became involved. deep down, nothing about money is funny.

opening sentence+

onward and upward

okay so i'm at the 25% mark, reading this kindle. before i forget:

the first part is narrated by an eye-narrator, larry dolman, who is a police science graduate of the university of florida (go gators, give em hell charlie pell)...ex-cop working for national security.

so: there's like these 4 guys living at the dade towers in miami:
1. eddie miller an ex-air force pilot
2. don luchessi who is into silverware that always arrives late
3. hank norton (narrator of the 2nd part) and he has an a.b. in psychology from the university of michigan (go blue!...the big cheese...you ought to hear them yell at carver-hawkeye)
4. and larry dolman...

part one, hank asks them all where the easiest place to get strange would be? answer: the v.d. clinic. heh!
where is the hardest place?
answer: a drive-in theatre

so...off to the movies. hank runs the gauntlet and they all have money down. only things go seriously haywire...ha!

okay, that's part one.

then part two, looks like hank norton as i said is the eye-narrator...not all of them are living in the dade towers...anymore...still, there's not a real strong sense that this is after part one...no mention as yet, about the haywire.

only larry is still there at the towers and he has signed up for this "electro-date"....heh!....he has all the angles covered...it is a tax write-off. he has hank, the shrink, to help him w/the questionnaire and that's a hoot...their rationale/thinking...

onward and upward

update: finished, tuesday evening 630 pm est.

the narration
so the 1st two parts are presented to the reader as eye-narrator, larry dolman 1st person in the 1st section, hank norton 1st person in the second section...and then the 3rd there's another switch, to third.

there in the third, willeford throws in what i've called a nice touch in one of the last stories i read...by sandford...in sanford's story (dark of the moon) the detective writes a story on his pad in his hotel room to think though the logic of his case. here in this one it takes the form of a long letter that hank writes to eddie...

followed by another tool...a kind of evaluation by hank of gladys, this woman that eddy was with...the evaluation from hank, who has the shrink degree.

so all in all...the story uses a variety of narrative technique/tools.

the story contains a multitude of bizarre episodes, not all four men playing integral parts in each one, other than the first and the last. there's a variety of things that keep the story interesting, other than the narrative variation, like "whiz-bangs"....that are some sort of prank thing this nutcase hitman uses on one of the guys...which one...ummmmm...it is a tad hard to keep the four straight throughout...hank.

there's this other crazy idea...a lawyer files suit on behalf of a baby...okay, so maybe the man is no longer a baby...but files suit because of circumcision...hey if you can't look at your kid cross-eyed anymore w/o incurring the wrath of the elect, why not, right? i have to ask why this hasn't caught on---the lawsuit idea--hell we sue everyone else, why not parents and doctors for circumcising their male babies?

all in all an entertaining read, the 2nd willeford for me as i said....i won't turn my nose up at another.

(i forgot): willeford uses dreams, too.

there's a 2-3 page (kindle, so it might be shorter printed-version) dream sequence that is nice. as you read it you don't realize it is a dream but that becomes apparent before the end of the sequence. there are other writers that use dreams..some just a paragraph or two...meh...but the longer sequences add to the story.

update, 11 aug 13, sunday morning, 11:15 a.m. e.s.t.
some of the same characters appear in willeford's Kiss Your Ass Good-Bye. check it out.
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