Tuesday, April 28, 2009

VERY MERCENARY by Rayo Casablanca

Very Mercenary, the latest from Rayo Casablanca, has a little bit of something for everyone. Art students, Palahniuk fans, early period Carl Hiaasen fans, late period Elmore Leonard fans, Victor Gischler fans, hipsters, hipster-haters, douches in Che Guevara T-shirts, people who laugh at douches in Che Guevara T-shirts - you know: everyone.

Okay, looking at that list I now see that that ain’t exactly everyone but still, Rayo Casablanca is hell of a lot of fun. You know that phrase every fucking region in America likes to call their own for some retarded reason: Don’t like weather, just wait ten minutes? Well, if you don’t like what’s cracking in Very Mercenary, just read for ten more minutes - there’s bound to be some character you dig the shit out of.

It’s the story of the kidnapping of heiress Leigh Tiller, the beautiful hipster New York socialite - think Paris Hilton but smart and cool.. She’s abducted by a bunch of escaped mental patients dressed in “furry” costumes who keep her in an abandoned building. That is until Laser Mechanic spots her by chance in the window.

Laser Mechanic is the leader of Strategic Art Defense, a guerilla art collective made up hundreds of people across the US who are out to fuck up the corporate world, man, like, with their art and shit. Laser figures rescuing Leigh and making her part of the SAD - Patty Hearst-style - would be a major coup for the collective. So a major rescue mission is put into action.

But now not only are the cops after Laser and his crew, but Leigh’s Trump-ish father has been commissioning various insane groups of killers to pursue them. Thing is, dude’s not looking to save Leigh from the SAD, but to have her and Laser killed…

So there’s a lot to like in Very Mercenary. Being the violence junkie that I apparently am, I especially liked all the different gun-toting crazies in the book. There’s a character called the Serologist who is hands-down one of the coolest, most bug-fuck crazy killers I’ve read lately. His introduction is just fucking hilarious and sick - and he only gets better as the book goes on.

But the shit of it is, on the back of the book, the fucking plot description gives you the names and descriptions of all the various gangs that go after Leigh and Laser and that ruins a lot of surprises. I won’t tell you what the various crazy-ass killer gangs are in the book (shit, if you want to know what they are a couple clicks on google will satisfy the curiosity toot-fucking-sweet) because I think the book is better served by their details being a surprise.

I mean, one of the gangs doesn’t even get mentioned until the last quarter of the book for fuck’s sake! Yeah, mentioning some of the crazy shit that goes down in the book helps sell it to certain readers, for sure, but because I read the fucking back of the book I was fucking waiting for certain characters to show up already! So if you’re smart, you’ll avoid reading anything further about this beast before picking up Very Mercenary. If not, don’t say I didn’t warn your ass.

All right so this next bit is going to sound fucking vague, but I’m not one to spoil shit so deal with it. My main issue with Very Mercenary is how much the tone shifts depending on what characters you’re following. Shit is always pretty wild and crazy, but when you compare the cute-sy romance/daddy issue stuff in the Laser and Leigh storyline to the darker, more painful places you go with the Serologist character in his back story, it’s kind of jarring, comparatively uninteresting. But like I said, just wait ten minutes, I suppose.

But no matter what floats your boat, you’ll probably dig Very Mercenary. Well, that is, if you liked any of that shit I mentioned up top and… Jesus, you know what I mean, right?

No comments: