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DarkEcho Horror
deccoclock by Rick Berry
Book Review

The Ten Ounce Siesta
Norman Partridge
Berkley Prime Crime/ pp. 254/ $5.99
ISBN 0-425-16143-9

Norman Partridge is one of the horror writers who emerged in the late 80s and would have been much better known if the horror boom of the 80s had continued a bit longer. Imaginative, talented, and original, there just hasn't been enough of a mass market readership in the 90s to support and promote the likes of Norm Partridge. Like Joe R. Lansdale, he seems to have slipstreamed his horror into the mystery niche, but don't be fooled: This is one weird dude and no matter what the spine says, this is dark stuff -- hilariously dark -- just slightly the other side of reality.

Jack Baddalach, a decent guy and former light-heavyweight world champion first featured in Partridge's Saguaro Riptide, is back in The Ten Ounce Siesta with another job to do for his Las Vegas mobster boss: escort a sick Chihuahua named Spike across the desert from Palm Springs to Las Vegas. But in Partridge's wacky world, nothing is ever easy or anywhere close to mundane.

Spike is almost immediately dognapped by a band of machine-gun-toting big-bosomed babes in black leather and Jack finds himself in a limo trunk with a dead blonde and a rattlesnake. He gets out of that jam but then has to face up to a pretty pissed off gangster boss, and worse -- Spike's owner, Angel, who is a kind of punkrock Mafia princess who packs a .45.

Partridge then tosses into the already frothing mix a chance for Jack to become heavyweight champion of the world; Satan-worshipping, snake-handling survivalists; a Komodo dragon on a rampage; and lots of snappy dialogue. The Ten Ounce Siesta is a ripping good comic noir romp. -- Paula Guran

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Copyright © 2002 Paula Guran. All Rights Reserved.