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From the acclaimed author of Bringing Out the Dead (“A knock-down spectacular first novel” —GQ), a darkly comic, wildly imaginative, unstoppable new novel.
Crumbtown is disaster zone as neighborhood, crisscrossed by streets called Lemmings, Felony, Sodden; rapidly losing its edges to the river; inhabited by people who know firsthand that “there’s bad luck in the world, and then there’s crumbluck.”
Don Reedy is the poster boy for crumbluck. His ticket out of town was a fifteen-year jail term for a staged armed robbery. His ticket out of jail is a return to Crumbtown. He’s got early parole and a job as a consultant to the TV show based on his own life, but he’s had to give up “all current and future rights to any representations of his life, both fictional and otherwise.” So when he decides to rob the TV robbery—becoming the criminal he never really was—the cameras are rolling, the script-writer is already making the appropriate changes, and the producer figures they’ve got a ten-point rating in the bag. Don, however, is on the run—a ploy complicated not just by the cameras, but by the dual casts of his life and the show: the fireplug half twins, Tim and Tom, who ran out on him after the first robbery; the still-prone-to-tantrums former child star who plays Don; the real cop/TV cop on Don’s trail with a posse of actor cops carrying real guns; and Rita, the beautiful Russian-born Crumbtown-adopted bartender with a past full of man trouble and a future full of Don—if he can just decide which Don he wants, or needs, to be.
Written with all the immediacy, heart, and richness of character that marked his debut novel, Crumbtown is, as well, furiously satiric—and further proof that in Joe Connelly we have a writer of the first order.