Friday, January 24, 2020

Born Slippy Book Review

Today, I have a literary thriller in our book spotlight. Check out my thoughts on Born Slippy and learn about author Tom Lutz in our book review feature!
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About the Book
A provocative, globe-trotting, time-shifting novel about the seductions of -- and resistance to -- toxic masculinity.

"Frank knew as well as anyone how stories start and how they end. This fiery mess, or something like it, was bound to happen. He had been expecting it for years."

Frank Baltimore is a bit of a loser, struggling by as a carpenter and handyman in rural New England when he gets his big break, building a mansion in the executive suburbs of Hartford. One of his workers is a charismatic eighteen-year-old kid from Liverpool, Dmitry, in the US in the summer before university. Dmitry is a charming sociopath, who develops a fascination with his autodidactic philosopher boss, perhaps thinking that, if he could figure out what made Frank tick, he could be less of a pig. Dmitry heads to Asia and makes a neo-imperialist fortune, with a trail of corpses in his wake. When Dmitry's office building in Taipei explodes in an enormous fireball, Frank heads to Asia, falls in love with Dmitry's wife, and things go from bad to worse.

Combining the best elements of literary thriller, noir, and political satire, Born Slippy is a darkly comic and honest meditation on modern life under global capitalism.

My Review

Born Slippy Serves Up All-Too Realistic, Modern Fast-Paced Fiction. Readers will not find many slowdowns at the pace of this novel. Tom Lutz gets the storyline moving as his characters develop and grow--and he keeps an action-packed, thought-provoking pace through to the very end. While fictional, I think most readers will find a great deal of modern-day realism played out throughout the novel.  From the masculine characterizations to the greed and political undertones--the story is all too real with characters that readers will likely find familiar on many levels. As the story and characters grow and adapt to the plot--readers will follow the ups and downs and thrills easily and readily.  The author offers a lot of detail in his main character development and their ever-changing scenes and settings--but, that detail is never overdone nor boring. 
Readers Will Enjoy--But May Not Like--the Characters of Born Slippy.  The author does a wonderful job creating two imperfect characters who exhibit many of the qualities that we love to hate in the world.  We don't really get to know supporting characters--because they are really of little value to the main characters as they live their own stories with little regard to impact upon others.  While I didn't like the characters of Born Slippy as heartwarming humans--I had to see where the author would take them and their stories next. 
Would I recommend Born Slippy by Tom Lutz? I enjoy thrillers and action/adventure novels--and I enjoy character studies as well.  This novel has a steady plot driven by two strong main characters.  I didn't love the personalities of either character--but, they were portrayed in very real and compelling ways that drew me into their stories and kept me turning the pages through to to the end.  If you enjoy a modern, realistic literary thriller--I do recommend Born Slippy.  You won't find characters behaving out of character--or falling into random scenes for a love interest or shock value.  I enjoyed the author's storytelling and I would certainly read more from this author in the future.

Buy the Book

About the Author

By day, he teaches creative writing at the University of California in Riverside (where he is the Chair of the department and Distinguished Professor) and also manages the Los Angeles Review of Books (, a nonprofit he founded and edits, that is dedicated to promoting writing about literature, culture and the arts. By night, he’s a rocker in bar bands. In between, he’s on a quest to visit every country in the world: 135 down, only 60 to go. This vagabond has dovetailed his wanderlust and passion for writing into seven nonfiction books—some on travel, one on the history of slackers, another on the history of tears. 

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