By sheer accident I discovered Dirty Work--a funny, entertaining book by Michael Lamendola. After leafing through creations of mediocrities, whose fame was overinflated by marketers of the big publishers, it was refreshing to read this suspenseful crime novel. I know only a handful of thrillers whose humour makes me laugh out loud. Perhaps because suspense and humour are two distinctly different genres, they are commonly perceived as incompatible. But in Dirty Work these two genres seamlessly merge into one on every page.
The humour of the story is not in the action--which by the way is very intense-- but rather in the way it is told. The main characters are two losers: drunks, good for nothing, unable, or unwilling to make plans even for the next day. The protagonist is intelligent enough though to be aware of his and his friend’s worthlessness. He begins the story by introducing himself with a self-depreciating remark:
"I am four glasses into my second glass of bourbon, weary from a day of doing nothing, and drunk as hell. I suppose I'm celebrating. For one, I've gone a day without drinking. For another, I've actually remembered to bring money to the bar. Nodding my head in self approval, I finish the current task at hand. ‘I think I deserve another,’ I say to myself, as a woman might decide to have a piece of pie after her salad and water."
Deserved, right? The gangsters give him a nickname, Pissy, alluding to his weakness of character. He introduces his best friend with the same sarcasm and contempt:
"Sal is like one of those big damn dogs. I never knew the name, but they walk around wigging their tails and knocking shit over, oblivious that they weigh two hundred pounds... that, and the inability, or lack of interest, in controlling his farts is what reminds me of a large dog. Oh, and he is hairy... but I digress."