- 3,49 €
One Christmas Eve, Whale Harbor is visited by a man who thinks he’s Jesus and claims to be looking for a game of poker. But, as usual, things are not quite what they seem. Having some version of the Lord in town for his birthday creates a strange effect on the locals: unlikely couples are breaking up and making up and making out; a luxury mobile home that belonged to an elderly couple from New Jersey (until they disappeared after a run-in with “the Lord”) is won by a down-on-his-luck gambler in an unbelievable hand of poker; the area’s most well-known and long-forgotten tourist attraction is rising up from a hole in the ground; and a gun no one has used in years is suddenly in hot demand. In the steamy climes of southern Florida, you take your miracles where you can get them—and if that means being led to salvation by a schizophrenic with a rap sheet, so be it.
In the rollicking tradition of Carl Hiaasen’s Tourist Season, with the heart of Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon, and peopled by the kind of colorful characters who would be quite at home in any Tom Robbins novel, N. M. Kelby’s Whale Season is a sharp and funny novel made up of equal parts comic adventure and serial-killer inspired mayhem.
A late-night Christmas Eve card game with a Jesus impersonator triggers misadventures galore in Kelby's screwball comedy with a dark side. In the dinky town of Whale Season, a faded (and whale-free) Florida tourist trap, various citizens mull over the lows life's brought them to. Sheriff Trot Jeeter and his best friend/oldest rival, Leon, a used RV salesman, form a love square with Carlotta, Leon's erstwhile girlfriend, and Dagmar, the owner of a local strip club and Leon's ex-wife (Trot loves them both, but Carlotta most). After winning a luxury RV from "Jesus" in poker, Leon gets drunk and burns down his trailer; everyone figures he's dead. Meanwhile, Jesus (who's really a serial killer named Dr. Ricardo Garcia) has decided that Jimmy Ray (a musician at Dagmar's club and likely her father) will be his next victim. The nonstop comedy jives weirdly with the characters' backstories and the threat of grisly murder, best exemplified during a scene in which Jesus vows to give Jimmy "the Hallmark Card of Death," Jimmy finally acknowledges his paternity and everyone, weeping with joy, decides to eat French toast. Shaggy, silly, a little bit soggy but as a holiday diversion, this is mighty good fun. (It's also a big shift for Kelby, who, writing as Nicole Kelby, offered up the luminous, haunting In the Company of Angels in 2001.)