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Speedster: A Midlife Crisis to Die For Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
There were some moments of disbelief here and there when characters did things that seemed completely irrational, but I have to admit, I was able to suspend my disbelief because I enjoyed the book so dang much!
This was a fantastic book for anyone looking for an intriguing fast paced thriller! I couldn't put it down.
Speedster is a rollercoaster read that keeps one turning the pages to follow an amazingly incompetent cast as they bumble from one harebrained impulse to the next, using anything but their heads.
Characterizations and dialogue work so well one can forgive the occasional blooper like the sudden reappearance of a conspicuous car that crashed and burned in the previous chapter. What I’m less inclined to appreciate is the relegation, once more, of a strong female character to the disappointing role of damsel in distress...
Jack is in full mid-life crisis, on everybody’s black list. His ex-wife says he’s incapable of love and never available when needed. Trophy girlfriend-with-matrimonial-designs, Jodie, is fighting a losing battle trying to tame him into suitable husband material. She says: ‘Really, Jack!’ or ‘Really, Jack?’
Like Gibson’s novel ‘A cup of pending’, the plot starts small then accumulates so many unforeseen developments that it’s like watching a tiny snowball rolling down a mountainside, getting bigger and bigger until it finally crashes into the huge boulder at the bottom sending snow spraying in all directions. What starts as a simple car boost ends up with car chases, boat chases, kidnappings and murders.
A car, in fact, is at the heart of all this mayhem. Or rather two cars. One is the Speedster itself, which sits in Jack’s garage underneath a tarpaulin, a valuable and cherished relic from his grandfather. The other is the little Japanese runaround he buys from his son. It’s not the sort of thing that he usually drives (a big Audi sedan) and definitely not in keeping with his image of respectable middle-aged financial consultant. Deciding to sell, it he calls on mechanic buddy, Mike, to fix it up. $22,500 later, he’s the speechless owner of a shiny purple all-wheel-drive monster with fat tires.
‘It would be ridiculous to keep it. That’s what everyone would say. Ridiculous. That made it worth thinking about.’
Taking a miffed Jodie out for a spin, Jack ends up in the middle of a drooling bunch of post-adolescent fluo-haired car fanatics, torn between ogling the miles of chrome tubing under the car’s bonnet or the miles of Jodie’s legs she’s desperately trying to hide under her mini-skirt. Bossing the drooling dudes around is Kelly, beautiful, sexy and smart, who sticks a spoke in Jodie’s wheel by inviting Jack to become a member of a car club. As Jack drops Jodie at her house she frostily informs him that a) she’s a lady, unlike some b) she will not be treated like a bimbo and c) she’s having second thoughts about their relationship. From then on it’s all downhill as events accelerate out of control, and ‘just like that, Jack was in a car club with a bunch of guys and a stripper, all of whom were younger than his own son.’
A lot of the humour in this book arises from the incongruous. Jack, the ‘old geezer’ with his totally unsuitable car and an equally unsuitable new girlfriend who is half his age, an expert on car engines, takes off her clothes for a living, and has no trouble outsmarting the various male idiots who see her as easy meat. Top of the idiot list is Dwayne, her would-be boyfriend. Ah, Dwayne, Dwayne! All Gibson’s characters are well-drawn but Dwayne is the cherry on the iced bun. He is his own worst enemy, his whiny voice coming off the page loud and clear as he bemoans a destiny full of blows and bludgeonings, none of which are deserved and all of which are the fault of somebody else. Why couldn’t he just for once in his life catch a break? Later in the book Jack gets into another unlikely partnership, this time with aging, decrepit, chain-smoking taxi driver Hattie, whose uniform consists of a mumu and a pair of flipflops. There are more beautifully comic scenes as Jack manages to talk her into helping him out in a bid to foil sadistic, homicidal drug dealer, Mateo. But Hattie is her own woman with her own terms, telling him:
‘I didn’t get to be this old and rundown by bein’ stupid.’
As the snowball gathers momentum, there’s a sense of incredulity that the characters, like those in a Cohen brothers’ film, behave in the most incomprehensible way, a way that any rational being would know with utmost certainty is going to end in tears (sometimes tears of laughter, other times tears of terror as they come face to face with the book’s nastiest character, serial killer Mateo). In this respect the book is similar to others I’ve read in this genre (Hiaasen et al), set in Florida. Forget ‘the new normal’, this is ‘the Florida normal,’ a story which is outrageously absurd yet somehow convincing. Our hero, from a simple good deed, ends up driving round Florida in yet another unsuitable car, this time the Speedster, enjoying renewed sexual vigour and self-esteem with the ravishing Kelly, being pursued by a stone killer, and acting like Captain America in a bid to save the girl (girls, actually, as yet another unlikely combination occurs when Kelly and Jodie find themselves, if not exactly best buddies, at least mutual protectors in the face of a common foe).
Plenty of thrills, plenty of surprises, plenty of cracking dialogue and good laughs, what more could a reader ask for?
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