Steppin' on a Rainbow), whi"/>

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH

Kinky Friedman, Author . Simon & Schuster $24 (208p) ISBN 978-0-684-86488-4

Consistently irreverent, politically incorrect and more than a little outrageous, the Kinkster's 15th effort (after 2001's Steppin' on a Rainbow), while it may please his fans, is unlikely to win any new ones, as it's just a bit thin in the telling. Reading a Friedman novel is like listening to a hip monologue where some of the jokes work, some don't. Reading a Friedman novel is like being thrust into a hellzapoppin' world where reality is the only uncertainty. The ultimate effect, however, is amiable. The author's compassion for the underdog and love of animals are clear. Kinky has three cases to handle and he has catalogued them with the names of the Three Stooges. "Larry" involves a missing autistic boy, 11-year-old Dylan Weinberg, who speaks only one word, "Schnay," which is the clue to the mystery that surrounds him. "Moe" concerns a serial killer, whom Kinky and his buddy, Rambam, stake out. And finally there's "Curly," which focuses on the disappearance of a three-legged cat named Lucky. Lucky is of great sentimental value to Kinky's cousin Nancy, who helps run the Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch (a real place), where unwanted animals are allowed to live out their lives. One of the cases comes to nothing, while another produces an unexpected corpse. It takes Friedman half the book to build a momentum, but once begun it moves well to a credible conclusion. The cat, incidentally, says nothing. 9-city author tour. Agent, Esther Newberg. (Sept. 12)

Reviewed on: 07/22/2002
Release date: 09/01/2002
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