It begins with a sea lion committing sexual harassment and ends with the avenging spirit of Steve McQueen. In between, a nudist mascot, a Kansas hick with an eBay streak, and a beautiful marine biologist. (Is there any other kind?) Wild and weird, it's hilarious adventure on America's wettest coast. And living proof that you don't need to be drenched in sun to get beach slapped - hard.
Beach Slapped, is a mystery novel in the tradition of Carl Hiaasen. Focusing on the just-off-of-center residents of Surfland, a half-fictional city of 10,000 people on the wet and weird coast of Oregon, the adventure isn't just about getting the bad guy, it's about the lovable lunatics met along the way. From the sci-fi geek who never met a galactic parable he didn't love, to a father-turned-stalker, to the volunteer fire fighter who insists a stuffed dalmatian always ride shotgun, everyone's favorite oddball friend is here, just a little bit odder.
In the middle of it all is reluctant hero Jackson Poe, a freelance writing renegade from the corporate world writing stories about $30,000 bathrooms just to pay the bills. Refusing to give in to reality or climate, he buys his Hawaiian shirts at Goodwill and his cars topless. Always one sandal step ahead of his bills, his ex-girlfriend and the occasional cop looking to make a monthly ticket quota, Poe is living life just the way he likes it: roof rertracted and relaxed.
But that all changes one morning when he discovers marine biologist Callista Walker being harassed by a sea lion in a way they never discussed in college. Hoping to discover who chased her into the chilly ocean to drown, (the sea lion was an added bonus) Poe and Walker stumble into a scheme that will take them from the edge of the sea to a galaxy of reality show stupidity that's unfortunately not so far away. And whether it's rampant developers, landau roofs or Bette Midler's Wind Beneath My Wings, everywhere Poe looks there are threats to his world as he knows it.
Fortunately, he's not alone in that world. And in a tale that spans from Kansas to the coast, one very naked culinary artist/mascot, the most clueless yet persevering romantic in history, and Wagner's Valkyries join with Poe as he attempts to spiritedly chase down the bad guys with the top down on his convertible no matter what waits over the horizon.
©2012 Barton Grover Howe (P)2013 Barton Grover Howe
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