Jenn's Reviews > The Incredible Double

The Incredible Double by Owen Hill
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's review
Feb 05, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: mystery, fiction, e-book, novel
Read from January 20 to February 05, 2010

"Marvin put up an ideological argument for gutting Wally like a trout. We shook our heads. At least one bullet in his midsection? For the people? Again we said no. We loaded our Glocks. Marvin caught my squeamish look. 'One bullet is worth a thousand bulletins!' Out the door and into the Buick."

This is a pretty good sample of the prose style of this book, which is consistent but somehow also alternates between entertaining and frustrating. The book itself is a little frustrating -- not quite a mystery, not quite action, more like a screwball comedy but with a heavy hat-tip to Chandler and, maybe, Carver. The protagonist and narrator is Clay, a book seller turned poet turned unlicensed detective in Berekley, California. He's given what seems like a too-easy job, by a guy who turns out to be the double of a drug-store chain tycoon. Things get weirder and weirder, and it doesn't take long for Clay to turn on his employer and start trying to figure out what's really happening.

I was really amused by parts of it, but I had no trouble walking away from it for a week in the middle of the action. I just didn't care very much about the characters -- well, the main character in particular. His accomplices - Marvin, "an anarchist soldier of fortune," and Bailey, "a transsexual ex-FBI agent," - are much more compelling than he is.

Oh, and the title? It's got another, more superficial, meaning. Here's a bit of dialogue between Clay, the main guy, and his friend Marvin:

"Have you done the double?"

The fountain of youth, the myth of paradise, pie in the sky, the incredible double fuck. Easier now, with the drugs. But I hadn't gotten around to those yet. I was still doing it on the natch, as was Marvin. To him tell it Ten years my senior!"


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Reading Progress

01/20/2010 page 41

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