Book Review - Broken Piano For President by Patrick Wensink
Normally, Broken Piano For President by Patrick Wensink would not come up on my radar screen. The only reason it did was publicity over the cover (which resembles the Jack Daniels logo), and how the company handled the situation with class and humor. Anyway, it was enough to get me to pick it up at the library and give it a read. It turned out to be one of the most "out there" novels I've read of late. It reminds me of a very dark version of a Tim Dorsey novel.
Deshler Dean, the main character, refers to himself as a "cliff drinker". When he starts to drink, he completely loses track of what happens. But apparently, he's very active during those times. From what he can tell, he apparently works for two warring hamburger mega-corporations, coming up with ideas that top each other. Furthermore, each side knows he's working with the other side, but thinks he's really spying and trying to lead their competitors astray. Meanwhile, he works a day job as a parking valet, approached by many important people who mean nothing to him, but who apparently know him very well. His life is a continual quest to figure out who and what he's supposed to be, and whether he can be that person during the times he's sober and can remember things.
Both the characters and the writing make this an enjoyable (if not strange) read. In addition to Dean, there are band members who are reluctant assassins, girlfriends who aren't who they appear to be, and Russian cosmonauts who may or may not be real and who might have an axe to grind. And during all this, the two mega-burger chains are continuing to top each other in bigger and more unhealthy fare (which the public literally eats up). Wensink uses the characters and corporations to grill a few sacred cows (into hamburgers), and the mirror he uses to reflect back public eating habits is not flattering.
Broken Piano For President a fast ride on a road filled with blind curves and dips. They may not all makes sense, but the overall effect is a memorable trip.
Obtained From: Library