From Publishers Weekly
Grimsley's hollow fantasy of upper-middle-class homicide has little to do with forgiveness. Three years after being laid off from his senior job at Arthur Anderson, Charley Stranger can no longer support the haute California lifestyle he and his spoiled, Botoxed wife, Carmine, are used to. Carmine wants a divorce, knowing Charley is no longer bothering to look for work, though it takes a visit from their obese banker son, Frankie, to realize the true extent of the financial damage. The fights are nasty: Carmine tells Charley he looks like "[o]ne of the fucking Teletubbies.... the purple one, the grey one." Meanwhile, Charley rehearses his violent thoughts in imaginary exchanges with famous actresses and interviewers like Barbara Walters, and in running sitcom scripts that chronicle years' of the family's mutual scorn. When Charley actually kills Carmine and Frank, the murders are described in some detail—as part of a literary tongue-in-cheek, of course. Grimsley's tale is a single-minded, scathingly unfunny look at American materialism. (Mar.)
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Charlie has been unemployed for three years, and his wife, Carmine--whom he thinks has been out of work ever since their wedding 25 years ago, busy with cosmetic surgery (never mind that she raised their son and daughter)--is fed up with his sloth, his drinking, and their impending poverty. The last is relative, since she drives a late-model Lexus, and he hasn't let the maid go. After Carmine announces she's planning a divorce, Charlie spends three days drunk in the pool house and decides to murder her so spectacularly that he'll be interviewed by the likes of Katie Couric (in particular), who'll ask whether homicide has changed his life. He also plans a Lifetime movie, Breakdown at Midnight
. In Grimsley's smoothly executed, grimly humorous satire, things ultimately turn savagely icy for this "failed wreck" of an accountant who aspires to renown "of a peculiar character, since it must earn for [him] all the bounty of fame and celebrity without the appearance of seeking to do so." Whitney ScottCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved