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Heart Seizure: A Novel Paperback – November 28, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
It seems an unlikely setup for a laugh riot, but this satirical novel by Fitzhugh (Pest Control) kicks off with hero Spence Tailor's mother, Rose, on her deathbed in Los Angeles, at the top of the list for a heart transplant. Just when a heart finally comes in, it turns out that the president needs it, too, and the FBI prepares to whisk the organ to Washington, D.C. But Spence has had it with endless delays. The scruffy 39-year-old is an embattled do-gooder lawyer who's just been dumped by his girlfriend; his nerves are already frayed, and he's not about to let anyone get away with the heart-especially not the president. So he and his stodgy banker brother, Boyd, don ski masks, evade FBI agents, distract the surgical resident (by pulling her scrubs down) and steal the heart. Thus begins a zany cross-country chase whose L.A.-Washington axis allows Fitzhugh to skewer both politicians and celebrities, not to mention TV newshounds, HMOs, soccer moms and other features of contemporary life. He builds a complex plot with dozens of believable-if broadly drawn-characters, most of whom share the same two traits: deep political or family commitments contradicted by self-serving impulses. The humor occasionally devolves into slapstick and corny jokes (a drug designed to treat erectile dysfunction is called Mycoxaflopin), yet much of the novel is genuinely funny (especially a memorable description of political jockeying at a suburban parents' association meeting). While Fitzhugh's perspective is definitely left of center, his satiric eye spares no one.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Robin Cook teams up with the Three Stooges in this madcap cross-country romp by the author of The Organ Grinders (1998) and Pest Control (1997). Rose Tailor, in her late sixties and suffering from a bad ticker, is next in line for a heart transplant. Unfortunately for her, the president of the U.S. suffers a massive coronary, and his devious chief of staff, Martin Brooks, bumps Rose and puts the president at the top of the transplant list. This doesn't sit well with her son, Spence--the proverbial lawyer with a heart of gold--who steals the donor heart and kidnaps novice surgeon Dr. Debbie Robbins. What then follows is a hilarious road trip from L.A. to Salt Lake City as an ever-increasing cast of eccentric characters--from black-ops government agents to a school bus full of Mormon basketball players--gets involved in Spence's crusade. Fitzhugh skewers politicians, the media, the medical establishment, and the military in this riotous page-turner that will make readers laugh out loud. Highly recommended. Michael Gannon
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Los Angeleno Rose Tailor, sixty-something and with a bum ticker, is on the list for a donor heart. Rose's situation is complicated by her rare blood type, which means that just any old heart won't do. The good news is that one finally becomes available. The bad news is that U.S. President Webster, also possessing the same blood type, needs one also after having keeled over on a jog past the Reflecting Pool. Too many cheeseburgers, perhaps. So, the FBI confiscates the organ only minutes before citizen Rose is scheduled to begin her restorative transplant. This doesn't sit well with her son, Spence, a struggling litigator who spends most of his time doing pro bono work for lost causes. In an act of desperation, Spence steals back the heart, liberates his sedated Mom out of the hospital, and flees into the Mojave Desert with the reluctant help of his successful banker brother, Boyd, and two hostages: 3rd-year surgical resident Debbie Robbins and gay LA motorcycle cop Officer Bobb. The five are pursued by the CIA and the FBI, both organizations each having an agenda at polar opposite to the other's.
I contend that it takes more talent to write a truly comedic successful novel than a widely popular dramatic thriller because, like men's ties and women's perfume, comedy is perhaps more linked to individual perceptions, and the sight gags seen in the mind's eye have to click. Author Bill Fitzhugh pulls it off commendably well as he escalates absurdity to the point where, Spence having accumulated an ever larger entourage of abductees along the way, culminates a wild ride up Interstate 15 from Barstow by arriving at a Salt Lake City medical center with a busload of Mormon basketball players.
The biggest problem with a literary slapstick farce can lurk in the tall grass of the conclusion, at which point the author must end the action, tidy up loose ends, and return the characters to an unremarkably normal existence. If, as here, the humor has gone over the top, the ending can be a letdown. So it is with HEART SEIZURE to the point that a five-star award is beyond my gift. At least for my taste, comedic literature rates five-stars if less riotous and more subtle as, for examples, the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella and, best ever in my experience, the McAuslan series by George MacDonald Fraser, the latter being based on the author's real-life service in the British Army. But don't let me turn you off from HEART SEIZURE - it's a worthwhile and eminently amusing read.
One nitpick, though. The plot hinges on a person's needing type AB blood. Althought his type is rare, a person with AB is the universal recipient. She could take either A, B, AB or O blood. The greater problem would be a type O negative recipient, who can ONLY take type O negative blood.
I would also love to see this made into a movie. With that one correction.