A Los Angeles slacker becomes apprentice to a crime lord in this “dark and mordantly funny” rampage through the gutters of La La Land (T. C. Boyle).
What could cause Bob to give up his cushy job at a pathology lab where he can play Tetris and surf the Web whenever he wants? Why on earth would he walk out on his beautiful girlfriend, a professional masturbation coach? What could induce him to risk his life by masquerading as a kingpin in the Los Angeles Mexican mafia? An erotic tattoo—the Mona Lisa of erotic tattoos—painted on a severed arm, which lands in Bob’s lap one fateful morning.
Bob has fallen for the woman in ink, but he’s not the only one who wants the beefy limb. There’s the telenovela-addicted mobster who lost it; the jefe who needs to keep it away from the police; a backstabbing, cannabis-loving Wharton grad; and a wine snob LAPD detective who knows the arm is the evidence he needs to bring down the entire Mexican mafia. And all the while Bob is holding onto it for dear life.
As potent as a double-shot margarita, Moist “blend[s] fresh characters, snappy patter, sex, a mind bender of a plot, and a little more sex . . . [in] a killer cocktail of a first novel” (John Ridley).
“Process Carl Hiaasen’s South Florida through an Elmore Leonard filter, then shake well and pour over Los Angeles . . . a terrifically engaging and wonderfully bizarre caper novel.” —Jeremiah Healy, Shamus Award–winning author
“The hard-boiled Los Angeles of Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy spun out in brighter-than-life Starburst colors.” —Los Angeles Times
Scattered body parts, a masturbation coach, the Los Angeles Mexican mafia and the work of Frida Kahlo are spun into a frenetic froth in this gritty, entertaining black comedy. Bob, a slacker working at United Pathology in L.A., is roused from Tetris-induced inertia by the arrival on his desk of a severed arm bearing the distinctive tattoo of a naked woman. Ruthless Mexican mobster Esteban has also learned of the missing limb; he knows it belongs to his associate Amado and will tie him to the recent murder of a mob informant. As Bob ferries the arm to a forensic facility, he is violently waylaid by Esteban and his henchmen. Instead of panicking, Bob weary of his dull life and recently separated from his sex therapist girlfriend Maura finds himself strangely enticed by "the glamorous aspect of the criminal life." He becomes "Roberto" and strikes a deal with Esteban to fool authorities by delivering a different limb to the police in exchange for one night with Felicia, the seductive woman supposedly pictured in Amado's tattoo. But the replacement arm ends up being chopped from one of Maura's clients, linking everyone together. Meanwhile, Maura finds unexpected romance with a detective and Bob's liaison with Felicia turns into true love. Pace and plotting are all in this Pulp Fiction esque tale, and Smith amply proves he knows how to get the adrenaline pumping. Fans of hiply skewed jackhammer action will appreciate this debut.