Friday, November 19, 2010

Forgotten Books: Let Them Eat Bullets by Howard Shoenfeld


I think this is one of the coolest titles ever. Wish I'd thought of it. Anyway, I acquired this book long, long ago and just got around to reading it. It started out great! Here's a passage from the first chapter:

     "Supposing I do it," I said. "What happens if I get a tail?"
     "The deal's off," Guitierrez said.
     "I could shake him."
     "No dice. He'd know it was done, and I don't want that."
     I started to ask him why when I saw the ten one-hundred-dollar bills stacked on my desk. There was something about that money that interested me strangely.
     I knew what it was. I wanted it.

The wise guy patter holds up well for the first few chapters, and we meet P.I. Jerry Nelson's twin brother Danny, a high-minded sociology professor. Jerry asks Danny to impersonate him to ditch the tail. Of course Jerry quickly stumbles across a murder, and a couple of potentially deadly dames, and the story holds a lot of promise.

Along the way, there are some nice scenes, and a few amusing sequences with brother Danny, but the promise of the book isn't quite kept. Somewhere in the middle, the prose loses its sparkle and the story slows down. Worst of all, no one eats bullets. With a title like that, I expect some blazing shoutouts, or at least one bad guy sent to hell with a bellyful of lead. Doesn't happen.

In the end, as you'd expect, Danny catches the bad guy and traipses off with one of the babes. It's not unsatisfying. It just isn't great.


As usual, Patti Abbott's pattinase is your gateway to the gala event known as Forgotten Books.

7 comments:

David Cranmer said...

Agreed. Sharp title and excerpt.

Thanks, Evan.

David Cranmer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott Cupp said...

I have fonder memories of this title but it's been at least 20 years since I read it. Good choice!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Love the title and cover. Sorry the book didn't quite live up to them.

Bill Crider said...

I read this book as soon as I ran across it, mainly because of the great title. Like you, I was a little disappointed. Not disappointed enough to pass up a signed copy of eBay a year or so a go, however.

Charles Gramlich said...

I agree, definitely a great title.

George said...

How could anyone pass up a book with the title LET THEM EAT BULLETS? Of course, the content would be hard pressed to match the iconic title.