Although it does have something going for it, a good title. My kid just looked at it and said, "Is that book called Con Ed or Conned?" Nice cover, too, see it here.
Anyway, I thought the pitch email was a bit off. For some reason, they didn't use one sentence they did in their pitch letter. The pitch email says, "Kip is a con man. Think John Cusak in The Grifters or Nicholas Cage in Matchstick Men." The letter goes on to add, "Then add 20 pounds, gray hair, and 16 rough years, and you'll get a sense of Kip."
The publicist hasn't given up bugging me about this book. These past few months have been overwhelming. Today, I sat down and started reading it. And it's really good, at least so far.
I kind of wish it weren't. But if it keeps being this good, I'm going to talk to the Oregonian editor about it.
It's first person, and the voice is perfect. I'm jealous. I've never written first person this distinctive, this brazen and impudent. Here is how the book begins:
It's the world's most simple con, and any idiot can do it, even the one sitting next to me.
He's 25 years old, dressed in khakis and a pinpoint Oxford shirt. He has soft hands and wears glasses. I'm guessed a dot-commer, college education. Probably he read about this con in a book, or maybe on the Internet, so he wants to try it out. A story to tell his friends.
[of course, the guy gets in a lot of trouble when the victim realizes what's happened. Normally, I'm not a big fan of character's describing themselves, but even this is pretty damn good.]
Monobrow turns to me without releasing the kid or lowering the gun. He has a you-gotta-be-kidding expression. He can't believe some fifty-four-year old guy with salt-and-pepper hair, a paunch and tired eyes is approaching him in a Sunnyvale bar while he's in the middle of killing someone.
[If I were the editor, I would have struck through "salt-and-pepper hair" and "tired eyes", but that's just me.]
I hope and sorta don't hope this is as good as its first 15 pages. Because a review is still WORK, and I have too much of that right now.