Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Tailed" by Brian M. Wiprud

If you've not yet joined taxidermist Garth Carson on any of his previous zany adventures, you just don't know what you're missing. Yes, Wiprud is back with another Garth book, and this one is pretty good. Not quite as good as the first couple, and I'm not entirely sure why. Might have been my reading mood, might have been the fact that they don't really spend any time in New York City, Garth and Angie's hometown; that setting really helps with the mood of these books. And while Angie is in this work, she's not in it much, so perhaps that's part of my disappointment with Wiprud's latest. I really love the relationship between Garth and Angie and you don't get as much of that this time around.

Anyway, Garth has gone legit; his brother, Nicholas, has gotten him a "real" job appraising the taxidermy of some big name, big game hunters. All is well in Garth-land as he takes his briefcase and vast knowledge to Chicago to meet his latest client, Sprunty G. Fulmore, who plays for the Chicago Bears. Garth receives a phone call from a man that he believes to be Sprunty, telling him to be ready for a limo ride to the mansion, etc. When Garth arrives, no one is around, although there is a trail of ladies underwear leading into the pool area. Figuring the linebacker has better plans at the moment, Garth waits a full 30 minutes before going in search of his client, only to find Sprunty's body. The Bear appears to have been killed by a bear, or at least, its arm. Not a live bear - just part of one of Sprunty's trophies. As Garth is questioned by the police, and later his boss, it comes to light that Sprunty is not the first to die a grisly death at the hands of a taxidermied trophy. And, as it turns out, Garth is the last to have seen each of the dead men...

Garth being Garth, he tries to do the right thing and work with the police and FBI. Of course, that doesn't last long, and he finds himself hiding out in Hell, Michigan with the usual assorted cast of characters. There's a few red herrings thrown in as well as some white geckos, a possible alien plot, his hippie mother, a possible alternate father for Garth's brother Nicholas, and - wait for it! - even the famous Mexican wrestling association, the lucha libre. It can be hard to keep all the characters straight, but it's a fun ride while you're at it. Will Garth take the fall for a mindless serial killer? Could Garth actually be on the hit list, due to his own extensive collection of big game taxidermy (most of it inherited from his father)? Will Garth ever be the same after seeing his elderly mother naked? (she's always been a nudist, something that used to embarrass the boys to no end while they were growing up).

Wiprud is a good author and he puts out good work. Fun books full of wild characters that will keep you entertained - and perhaps divert your attention from our current doom and gloom that seems to be on every news show lately.

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