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The Fools in Town Are on Our Side Paperback – May 16, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; Reprint edition (May 16, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312315821
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312315825
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,012,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"America's Best Storyteller." --New York Times Book Review


"America's Best Storyteller." (New York Times Book Review)

About the Author

Ross Thomas is ranked as one of the very top thriller writers by his fellow authors, and his readers loudly agree. Two Edgar Awards, and other prizes, only complement the abundant praise that Thomas has received.

Thomas died in 1995, and since then all but one of his twenty-five novels have gone out of print. This should never have happened to the man of whom The New Yorker has said "Very few...are as consistently entertaining...even fewer can match him for style and power." Minotaur is proud to remedy this situation by reissuing Thomas's novels. So start reading, and prepare to join Ross Thomas's legions of admiring fans.

Customer Reviews

One of the greatest writer's ever.
Medina Ba
When i read the plot line for this book, I bought it just to see what it was really about.
fairandbalanced
It was a great story with great characters and plot.
William J. Chiappetta

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Tung Yin VINE VOICE on January 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
It's been said that what Elmore Leonard ("Freaky Deaky," "Get Shorty," etc.) did for crime novels in urban environments, Ross Thomas did for crime novels in suburban environments. Thomas' novels aren't so much gritty as they are witty, and less about openly violent crimes as about deep corruption beneath the veneer of civilization.
"The Fools in Town Are On Our Side" is one of the best Thomas novels. It's really about three or four stories all wrapped together. The stories all happen to be about the narrator, Lucifer C. Dye. Dye was born in Montana, but spent his childhood in Shanghai, China, before and during World War II. Story No. 1 is about how he came to be raised by a Russian-born madam running Shanghai's top brothel. Story No. 2 is about how Dye came to be the youngest Sergeant Major in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, largely on the strength of his perfectly fluent Mandarin (Chinese), and his subsequent recruitment into a government intelligence program. Story No. 3 is about how he got booted out of the program. And Story No. 4 is the main story, wherein he is offered $50,000 (it was worth a lot more back in 1970 when the book was written) to help "corrupt" a town, the idea being that in order to get the townspeople to vote for a reform slate, they have to be really fed up with corruption. That requires making things far worse so people see how bad the corruption is.
Of course, Thomas does not tell the stories in that sequence. Instead, they're all mixed together, which ordinarily I find annoying, but each story is so interesting that the technique works here.
There's a little bit of violence, but for the most part, the book is really about intrigue, double-dealings, and so forth. If you've never read anything by Ross Thomas, this is a great introduction.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By nobizinfla on August 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
At eight years of age, Lucifer Dye could "shill a crap game, pimp for a whore house, speak six or seven languages, roll drunks, and hustle the rubes," but could neither read nor write.

Dye is the central character in "The Fools in Town Are on Our Side" (1970) by Ross Thomas.

It is a complex, unique, compulsively entertaining small town corruption novel.

After Dye completes his education on a "scholarship" granted by a clandestine government agency he is employed by the agency, Section Two. And, he is told, "There is no Section One."

After being unceremoniously dumped by the outfit, he is hired by Victor Orcutt to corrupt the corrupt in a Gulf Coast city.

Myriad scalawags abound, chicanery is the order of the day and abundant deceptions are trump cards, as a cast of sharp, unforgettable characters are manipulated by Dye, Orcutt and two associates.

There is never a dull moment in the absorbing narrative.

The "heroes" are tarnished and shady, and not much better than their adversaries.

The novels of Ross Thomas are fascinating and impossible to put down.

Out of print for nearly a decade, several of his works are being reissued by St. Martin's Press. Do yourself a favor---pick one up and enjoy the ride.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael G. VINE VOICE on December 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
Victor Orcutt of Victor Orcutt Associates has discovered an ingenious way of earning large amounts of money. If a community becomes disgusted with rampant corruption in the ranks of its civic leaders, Victor will come in and clean things up. But Victor has found that before bad government can be reformed it has to first become even more corrupt. When the good citizens of Swankerton, a southern gulfcoast city, hire his firm to rid them of their thoroughly corrupt municipal government, he in turn hires Lucifer Dye to carry out the task of making the corruption worse.

Who is Lucifer Dye? Why he's the novel's protagonist and first person narrator. Born in Montana and raised in Japanese occupied Shanghai, Lucifer's biography is an exceedingly interesting one. For the past decade he has been a spy stationed in Hong Kong.
When the ultra-secretive intelligence agency he works for abruptly hands him his walking papers, Victor Orcutt is right there to provide employment for him on the Swankerton project.

Lucifer's much anticipated work in Swankerton really doesn't get underway until the second half of The Fools in Town Are on Our Side. The first half of the book is largely about Lucifer's early life and his later tenure as an intelligence agent. Subjects which are both amazingly interesting to read about.

This book deserves a 5 star rating for a number of reasons. The narrative is extremely compelling and substantial. There's lots of action including several instances of sudden, shocking violence. As in all Ross Thomas novels, almost all of the characters are imbued with cynical attitudes that are finely honed. In fact, the degree of cynicism found in the pages of this novel is a delight to behold and is probably its most engaging characteristic.

The Fools in Town Are on Our Side is one of the author's best efforts. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Writetrak on January 15, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
THE FOOLS IN TOWN ARE ON OUR SIDE is an amazing piece of writing. The late Ross Thomas not only carved out one of the best thrillers in print but he did so with interesting, unforgetable characters and in an entertaining style and spot on dialogue that make the pages fly. No hack writing here, just a nicely entangled plot, sleazy bad and good guys, and the kind of corruption in secret government agencies that make you wonder if there are any good guys out there without dangerous agendas.
I read this when it was new on the book shelves and having just re-read it again I'm still nodding and smiling. Talent transcends time.
Ross Thomas was one of those unique writers (I hate to say 'gifted' because he worked hard at it so any 'gift' was the result of his efforts and a present for the rest of us). Thomas left us with a wonderful list of stories and none better than this one.
By the way, I hate it when reviewers tell you too much about a book before you read it, at times giving away the plot...'and then he kills so and so because of such and such because he or she isn't really who you think they are, and oh yeah, did I mention that he dies?'
Buying a book should be like buying a new pair of shoes. This book is a thriller. You already like the style so try it on and see just how comfortable it fits.
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