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Night of the Avenging Blowfish: A Novel of Covert Operations, Love, and Luncheon Meat Paperback – January 5, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 313 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books; 1ST edition (January 5, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565120507
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565120501
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #580,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Humor may be the most personal of all tastes, so it's difficult to forecast how many readers will construe same in Welter's second novel (after Begin to Exit Here ). One problem for many will be the oddly old-fashioned romance between narrator/Secret Service agent Doyle Coldiron and a White House secretary, not to mention Coldiron's mawkish musings on loneliness occasioned by that ill-fated relationship. And that's a big problem because, if the story here is about anything, it is about that romance, seemingly doomed because Natelle, the object of the agent's affections, is a married woman. The rest of the goings-on have to do with a phantom baseball game between the Secret Service and the CIA, and with Coldiron's fall into disfavor when he fails to stop the White House chef from serving Spam to the President and an honored guest (the chef is upset because the President, after eating a hot dog at a baseball game, suggested that he didn't receive such high quality food in the White House). Some of Welter's commentary on the national scene is dead-on. After the fired chef goes on national TV to suggest that the President thinks he's too good for "ordinary food," for instance, the Leader of the Free World embarks on a public diet of Vienna sausages, wieners and the like: "If it came from a dead animal and was held in low culinary esteem, the President made sure he was seen eating it." The overall effort, however, is strained. Suffice it to say that Weltner's humor is most likely an acquired taste.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Doyle Coldiron, a wisecracking but sensitive U.S. Secret Service agent, deplores his unhappily unmarried status. Miserably in love with Natelle, an already-married secretary to the president, Doyle consoles himself with drinking at the Nevermore Bar & Grill and planning covert "spookball" games between the Secret Service and the CIA. When demoted for failing to prevent the White House chef from serving Spam at a State dinner, Doyle confides in Natelle, who responds by revealing the semi-detached state of her marriage. Although predictable and peopled with characters who function primarily as foils for Doyle's ironic wit, this novel is frolicsome, sexy, and reflective. Similar in tone to Welter's well-received debut, Begin To Exit Here (LJ 3/1/92), it will be in demand by readers of popular fiction. Recommended.
Sheila Riley, Smithsonian Inst. Libs., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

I recommend this book to everybody; it's really, really good.
Mike Withers
I don't think I've ever read a book that made me laugh out loud as much as this one.
a reader
The premise was very original and all in all, I enjoyed this romantic comedy.
Yolanda S. Bean

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By G Smith on February 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
John Welter calls up fond memories of Joseph Heller's' Catch-22 with his main characters irreverent logic and uncompromising honesty. This and Catch-22 are two of the only books I've red that made me laugh out loud at least once a page. The big difference is that N.of the A.B.F. is so depressingly sad that at times I was scared to keep reading.

The main character, Doyle Coldiron, is in the Secret Service, along with his wacky co-workers, his job is to protect important and respected people, people whom he believes "don't deserve to be important, much less respected". Doyle spends most of his days fervently contemplating his lonely existence and dreaming of the one woman he loves, even though she is married and he knows that it can never be. Coldiron is a truly likable character and I felt his heartache; what could be better proof of a good book?

Some may say that Welter repeats his ideas (contemplations on loneliness and hurt) too often. However, I believe that he is only trying to impress upon the reader Doyle's' profound loneliness.

I would highly recommend this to any one who liked Yossarian or anyone who likes to laugh. If you're like me, you'll be rooting for Doyle the whole way.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
I was reading this book returning home from a business trip and literally laughed out loud while on a Delta jet, a number of people near me started laughing with me caused they'd not seen anybody laugh while reading. Those near me told me they would get the book when we hit Orlando airport. This man is nuts and a little bit of him is in all of us. What a blast!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 3, 1998
Format: Paperback
The funniest book I've ever read, and yet it touches me with the main character's underlying sadness and longing. Love Welter's sense of irony and quirky insights.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By luuzhin@aol.com on August 21, 1998
Format: Paperback
i had to buy a different book to read on my train commute because i kept laughing out loud and frightening small children and old women. you'll read it in twenty seconds, afterwhich you'll rush out for spam, saran wrap and strawberries (!)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
This hilarious, melancholy, witty book is a 100 mega-watt laser beam of hope for women who think men don't feel and men who think women don't notice.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jeni P on April 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book looked great - cover blurb by Joseph Heller, comparisons to Dave Barry, a quirky title. But Welter's interesting ideas -- a top-secret baseball game between the CIA and the Secret Service, a drunken piano-playing ambassador, a national scandal over canned meat -- can't seem to rise above his shallow characters, superficial and tedious love story and dialogue that rings false when it tries to hard to be witty. Welter falls back on a lot of one-trick jokes -- like the Stealth kite, an invisible kite -- that don't advance the plot or reveal anything about the characters. With his wry Washington insider stance, Welter very much wants to be Christopher Buckley -- except he's not half as funny. Frankly, I expected more from a book brilliantly subtitled "a tale of covert operations, love and luncheon meat."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anonymous Agent on October 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
Much like the lead character, I work for a U.S. Government agency protecting insignificant American and foreign dignitaries. This is a hilarious book about lonely young men, guns, luncheon meat (SPAM), and unrequited love. I have purchased multiple copies and given them to friends in the "industry." It is laugh-out-loud/have-to-put-it-down-to-wipe-away-the-tears-hilarious. Dog-eared copies are circulating the rounds of the White House and the State Department. Is it brilliant literature with perfect plotlines and concise editing? Perhaps not. But it is a book that you will love to read, love to pass on, and will reflect on at the oddest moments. Buy it, you'll love it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 14, 1998
Format: Paperback
The absolute best book I've ever read. It gives new hope for living a life worth laughing at.
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