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Reptile Wines Paperback – July 22, 2016
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Hewitt's prose, littered with deliciously bizarre dialogueand other vivid details, makes his larger-than-life world fit for the bigscreen. -Kirkus Reviews
"Hewitt's prose, littered with deliciously bizarre dialogue and other vivid details, makes his larger-than-life world feel fit for the big screen." Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
A native of Los Angeles, John Hewitt has worked as a newspaper, magazine and television reporter, editor, and documentary film producer. He has also been a university professor, textbook author and novelist. Over the past 40 years John Hewitt's films and books have explored a mosaic of cultures and nationalities, drawn from extensive travel in Mexico, Central and South America, Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Hewitt is the author of four previous novels, One Shoe, When a Gold Rush is Not Enough (2015), set in the Northern California Sierra foothills, and a trilogy from Mexico's Baja Peninsula: Drone Baloney (2014), Under the Padre's Thumb (2012) and Stranger in Baja (2011).
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Hewitt's latest, "Reptile WInes," might best be described as "Carl Hiassen meets 'Sideways,'" with pinches of "Falconcrest" and "The Godfather" tossed in for spice.
Like Hiassen, his Florida alter ego, Hewitt dances all along the fine line separating reality from total absurdity -- and makes it work. Who else would think of a funeral where a stuffed horse is substituted for the missing corpse, only to implode in the crematory oven? Or naming a racehorse "Love Blisters"?
Trying to steer through Hewitt's tale is a little like riding a bumper car at the carnival -- new surprises keep popping up to knock the story off-course. Among other things, it includes lone sharks, gamblers, exotic dancers, witches and aliens. Main character Miles (also the name of Paul Giammati's memorable "Sideways" wine snob) gets caught up in the affairs of the DellaContorni family, the Wine Country's version of the Corleones. In the process, and through his relationship with family outcast Angelina -- he discovers a pack of backstabbers that makes the Falconhurst combatants look like the Waltons.
Besides trying to squeeze a few dollars out of a plodding, ungrateful racehorse, Miles is also on a quest to find out whether his friend Lucky Tarpitz is alive or dead. In that regard, he's not alone, because Lucky has a history of conveniently "dying" when his list of debts gets too long.
If you like Haissen, you'll like "Reptile Wines." It's best enjoyed with a bottle of pinot grigio and a sense of humor.