The narrative voice is upbeat and funny, the pacing fast enough to keep me turning the pages. The characters are colorful and quirky, especially the depiction of eccentric scam artists Vic Mirplo and Radar's father, Woody. The dynamics between Radar and Allie add extra dimension to what could have been a standard swindle story. At times, the narrative bogs down by delving too much into the grifter's psyche. The mistrust on Radar's part (who narrates the story) is overdone as he constantly analyzes every dialogue exchange and motivation of people he comes in contact with (even Allie), such that he almost becomes an unreliable narrator, which is frustrating. We get it — grifters are suspicious people, don't overdo it.
The Mirplopalooza scam, which involves hyping the demand for Vic Mirplo's art by launching a Burning Man type of installation/performance in the Nevada desert, severely tests the novel's verisimilitude. Tactics of misdirection, endless feints and switcheroos contrived by Woody and company to mask the real con makes for a convoluted read. There are simply too many of them to keep track of. Putting the protagonist in the role of a blundering puppet (Radar is clearly overmatched by Woody's cunning) instead of having him actually pulling the strings also disappoints. But then, Radar's cluelessness does go with the quirky flavor of the narrative. It is unfortunate that the book is saddled with these flaws because the storytelling is very engaging. Somewhere in the editing process, the editor should have done a better job. Overall, The Albuquerque Turkey garnered three stars out of five from this reviewer. Despite its faults, the book is enjoyable enough for a lazy afternoon read.