Ian McCord

Ian started at Avid in June of 2019, just short of celebrating his 20th year in Athens. He spent most of the last 2 decades tending hipster bars and playing loud music (some folks would say you could swap those adjectives). In fact, he’s often spotted reading in dark, noisy bars. Most of his free time is spent nose-in-book, playing old video games or rewatching classic talkie films like Midnight Madness and Cabin Boy.

My Staff Picks: 
Understanding Comics Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780060976255
Availability: In our warehouse - should ship in 5-7 business days.
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - April 27th, 1994

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At Swim-Two-Birds (Irish Literature) Cover Image
By Flann O'Brien, William H. Gass (Introduction by)
$13.95
ISBN: 9781564781819
Availability: Unavailable
Published: Dalkey Archive Press - September 1st, 2005

In my opinion, it's very rare to see the STORY-WITHIN-A-STORY-WITHIN-A-STORY format pulled off as gracefully as Mr. O'Brien did here. And to top it off, it's a brilliant and sneaky comedy. So many re-readable character interactions... Loved it.


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Warlock Cover Image
By Oakley Hall, Robert Stone (Introduction by)
$18.95
ISBN: 9781590171615
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Published: NYRB Classics - November 21st, 2005

This book reads like a blueprint for the best of the dirtiest and darkest early Western films. It's all here: The questionable and faulty hero. The local cowards and drunks. Miners on the verge of strike. Multiple showdowns. The sacrifices of/for "Family" and/or "Friends". Way better than the movies...


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Wittgenstein's Mistress (American Literature (Dalkey Archive)) Cover Image
By David Markson, Steven Moore (Afterword by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781564782113
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Published: Dalkey Archive Press - May 1st, 1988

Markson takes us into the mind of either A) someone suffering the trials of dementia, or B) the last person on Earth. Both scenarios worked for me. It's a highly entertaining view into cabin fever of the human brain.


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The Savage Detectives: A Novel Cover Image
By Roberto Bolaño, Natasha Wimmer (Translated by)
$21.00
ISBN: 9780312427481
Availability: May be on our shelves or available in 5-7 business days
Published: Picador - March 4th, 2008

Who/what were the Visceral Realists? Though bookended by the protagonist's tale of curiosity, the meat of this book sandwich is an amassment of varying opinions on its two founders that spans three decades and four continents. It reads like journalistic nonfiction which forms a bond between reader and aforementioned truth seeker. Good eats!


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Malina Cover Image
By Ingeborg Bachmann, Philip Boehm (Translated by), Rachel Kushner (Introduction by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9780811228725
Availability: May be on our shelves or available in 5-7 business days
Published: New Directions - June 25th, 2019

Wow... I'm still processing this one.  It's sensory overload in three acts.  ACT ONE: a bit of Primer for what's to come.  ACT TWO: a brutal nightmare-journal documenting multiple creative deaths of our narrator.  ACT THREE: a rollercoaster dia/monologue reminiscent of Godard's 'Weekend' or 'Contempt'.  A discussion-worthy ending to boot!


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Journey to the End of the Night Cover Image
By Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Ralph Manheim (Translated by), William T. Vollmann (Afterword by)
$17.95
ISBN: 9780811216548
Availability: May be on our shelves or available in 5-7 business days
Published: New Directions - May 17th, 2006

In theory, there's nothing funny about war, feverously managing a trading post in the middle of the jungle, going mad working on an automobile assembly line OR scraping away a living as a broke doctor in the slums, but this snarky protagonist makes it all so in this adventure.


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The Emigrants Cover Image
By W. G. Sebald, Michael Hulse (Translated by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9780811226141
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Published: New Directions - November 8th, 2016

Here are four unique character studies, each one longer than the previous. I felt an emotional attachment for all four of the subjects which grew in intensity from story to story, so look forward to reading more Sebald in search of that fifth story or/and character.


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Pedro Paramo Cover Image
By Juan Rulfo, Margaret Sayers Peden (Translator), Susan Sontag (Foreword by)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780802133908
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Published: Grove Press - March 10th, 1994

The tale of a once-thriving ghost town told by its 'surviving' ghosts. Each apparition's narration slightly overlaps to cofabricate a shuffled timeline and scattered outcome. I tossed it into my 'Highly Re-readable' bucket.


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The Divers' Game: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062676108
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Published: Ecco - September 10th, 2019

A few glimpses and side-glimpses of a side-world in which born-into castes predetermine each character's role, but not their fate. Almost every piece of the chessboard's story is told. Loveded it.


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Sixty Stories Cover Image
By Donald Barthelme, David Gates (Introduction by)
$18.00
ISBN: 9780142437391
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Published: Penguin Classics - September 30th, 2003

Though it was his 'Forty Stories' collection that gatewayed my obsession with D.B., it was the story 'The Balloon' (pg. 46) that would have been all I need to get hooked. These are Death Stars™ served up as Gobstoppers™. Please don't sue me.


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Out from Boneville (BONE #1) Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780439706407
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Published: Graphix - February 1st, 2005

A must-read-and-reread for kids AND adults. A permanent resident of TopTenTerritory. Don't be fooled by the simplistic cartoony look of the Bone cousins. Both the artwork and story grow darker and more complex as the adventure advances. And hilarious? Yes, it's hilarious.  "Out From Boneville" is the first collection in the series.


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The Crying of Lot 49 Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780060913076
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Published: Harper Perennial - October 17th, 2006

'The Hero's Return' from Pink Floyd's 'The Final Cut' encapsulates every one of my favorite tropes of the Roger Waters/post-Barrett era in just 2 minutes 43 seconds.  A great intro for folks that only know them as a concept album or songs-the-length-of-side-B band.  'Lot 49' is Pynchon's 'Hero's Return'.  A g(re)ateway to an artist that some find a little intimidating.  Granted, no one ever did a laser show based on Pynchon's works, but I'd be first in line with a posse, so someone get on that.


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Mason & Dixon Cover Image
$27.50
ISBN: 9780805037586
Availability: Unavailable
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - April 1st, 1997

My favorite Pynchon book. It's historical fiction and hysterical diction starring both a talking dog and an invisible duck.


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The Verificationist: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780312662141
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Published: Picador - November 22nd, 2011

Imagine you and your coworkers under the same IHOP roof, boothed throughout most of the diner. In a manic moment, you start a pancake food fight, triggering an out-of-body experience. Circling over their heads, you reveal each and every workplace/interpersonal drama with an imaginary 'reader'. Now pick up this book and imagine you're that 'reader'. This was my intro to the beautiful insanity of Antrim.


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Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead: A Novel Cover Image
By Olga Tokarczuk, Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Translated by)
$27.00
ISBN: 9780525541332
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Published: Riverhead Books - August 13th, 2019

The livid viscosity of a dark tale is always well accompanied by a slick sense of humor. One bite of this macabre macaron and I was hooked. BE NICE TO ANIMALS...


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Sand Cover Image
By Wolfgang Herrndorf, Tim Mohr (Translated by), Michael Maar (Afterword by)
$18.95
ISBN: 9781681372013
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Published: NYRB Classics - June 12th, 2018

If at the last second of the experiment, Thomas Pynchon wandered into the Coen Brothers' teleportation device to ask for directions, the creature emerging from the murky shadows would be this book.

(Tip: Stretches via cringing can avoid cramps caused by dint of laughter.)


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They Will Drown in Their Mothers' Tears Cover Image
By Johannes Anyuru, Saskia Vogel (Translator)
$22.95
ISBN: 9781931883894
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Published: Two Lines Press - November 5th, 2019

I'm that sucker for time loops and/or alternate realities that gets pretty miffed when they're handled poorly.  I'm SO far from miffed.  I'm touched and charmed, even.  

I've attempted a review free of spoilers, but there's not much that I could offer to an educated guest that wouldn't bruise this apple. 


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Norco '80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781640092129
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Published: Counterpoint LLC - June 11th, 2019

Thrown almost immediately into the action, the first half of 'Norco' slingshots the reader through a play-by-play-to-the-millisecond account of this overly-armed and loosely-organised heist, with multiple pit stops to... just... breathe...... The pace of the second half, though calmer, is no less entertaining as the trial hits more speed bumps than the high speed chase in part one.


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The Everlasting: A Novel Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780062873644
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Published: Harper - March 24th, 2020

Four stories wheelbarrowed down a potholed pathway of flawed love 'round the fecund pond in history's horribly funded public park. The cartoon-strength attitudes of the four (or five) wonderfully constructed main characters gave me the strength to accept each of their fates with que seras and a sigh.


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Baron Wenckheim's Homecoming Cover Image
$29.95
ISBN: 9780811226646
Availability: May be on our shelves or available in 5-7 business days
Published: New Directions - September 24th, 2019

It sure looks intimidating, but 20 pages in I was swept away by an incredibly ardent undertow. These paragraph/sentences (sentegraphs?) read like I was pulling the string of a Mattel See-N-Say, bouncing from character to character with such flawless fluidity that I occasionally had to come up for air, have a nice float, then dive right back in. An insane conclusion, to boot!


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Greenwood: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781984822000
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Published: Hogarth - February 25th, 2020

'Greenwood' boomerangs the timeline whilst remaining linear, scattering and pollinating its mysteries throughout. A family name is a nickname and time is a game of telephone. A family tree, on paper, can just look like a post-tornado pile of branch scraps. Optimism can be dark. That's when I find it most convincing.


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Big Bang Cover Image
By Jonathan Lethem (Introduction by), David Bowman
$21.99
ISBN: 9780316560245
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Published: Back Bay Books - November 19th, 2019

This is a Kennedy assassination saga that avoids most of the stench of conspiracy and/or what's been grade-school-history-booked into our basic-fact-singed brains.  A compendium comical, emotional, and liberally fictional, like the Ford Theater tale without all that Booth-talk.  A sweet digestif to follow DeLillo's 'Libra'. 


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Antkind: A Novel Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780399589683
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Published: Random House - July 7th, 2020

This book is 'Gravity's Rainbow Framed/Censored Roger Rabbit' AND Punch and Judy in the Marx Bros' script-doctored 'Waiting for Godot' AND 'Barton Fink' directed by the Zucker Bros. AND The Last 20-odd minutes of '2001' as a Pigs in Space sketch ALL wrapped up in one anthill. It's highbrow AND lowbrow. It's UNIBROW, like Bert and Ernst. It's comedy punches up AND down, like Intendo's 'Punch Out' (pun nintended).


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The Last Samurai Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9780811225502
Availability: May be on our shelves or available in 5-7 business days
Published: New Directions - May 31st, 2016

I was late in the game in discovering this gem.  20 years late.  In that literal score, I've mined and cashed in many literary nuggets.  I've amassed, squandered, and gambled away a mental fortune.  I've climbed the highest of peak contents, sailed the smoothest C-listers, and toiled through some plain ol' stinkers.  Sometimes a book just finds YOU.  It pulls you out of your post-voyage funk and says "Hey buddy, I've been here all along.  Let's hang."  SPOILER ALERT: This book is now my father.


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The Lucky Star: A Novel Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780399563522
Availability: In our warehouse - should ship in 5-7 business days.
Published: Viking - February 18th, 2020

This is a Whitman's sampler of characters and their varying slow burn relationships with Neva, a magical Christ-like figure cursed/blessed with the power to dispense seemingly endless love. But this is delicious, vulgar, beautiful, sick Vollmann. One chump's polished turd is another's oxygenated jewelry. Some sulk in the moonlight as others bask in surplus sunlight bouncing off of a big space rock. However, all of us are users, abusers and addicts of love. I walked away from this book with a much higher awareness of the worth of everyone around me: the stars, the understudies, the chorus, the backstage crew, the audience, the ticket takers, the folks in the alley behind the theater.


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And Their Children After Them: A Novel Cover Image
By Nicolas Mathieu, William Rodarmor (Translated by)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781892746771
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Published: Other Press - April 7th, 2020

A spilled inkwell set into action by a 14 year old boy wanting to see naked girls.  Seems commonplace enough, but in lieu of cleaning up the mess, Mathieu lets the the ink slow-flow through the grooves and divots of the 1990s drawing board.  A dysfunctionate and affectional domino effect that often turns left though the right blinker's been on for miles.


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Michael Kohlhaas Cover Image
By Heinrich von Kleist, Michael Hofmann (Translated by)
$14.95
ISBN: 9780811228343
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Published: New Directions - March 31st, 2020

This squelched my classic-tale-of-revenge fix, though my head is spinning in the attempt to bullseye the moral.  A: no one really gets what they deserve, however B: what does ANYONE really deserve?  Is Michael Kohlhaas a 16th century John Wick (sorry) or the cranky codger that won't leave city hall be until they put up that derned stop sign they promised, like, last year?  For fans of 'Captain Blood', 'Prince of Foxes' and the like.


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All Fires the Fire Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780811229456
Availability: May be on our shelves or available in 5-7 business days
Published: New Directions - April 28th, 2020

I just spent a guilt-free rainy day with these high calorific, double-stuffed short stories.  Located within: A traffic jam turned tribal via survival, some playful narrator juggling, an escapist daydream that  O. Henrys into an R. Serling nightmare, and fiery relationships that literally burn to literal litter.  Looking forward to more rain.


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Like Flies from Afar: A Novel Cover Image
By K. Ferrari, Adrian Nathan West (Translated by)
$25.00
ISBN: 9780374239947
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Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - March 24th, 2020

This book is flat-out fun.  The comeuppance of an awful, awful protagonist immediately ignites my stinkin' thinkin' lobe.  This book is flat-out fun.  By page two, the ink of the portrait of this punching-bag-of-a-scumbag has dried.  Everything that follows is just a comical, fowl-mouthed, feces-fling of a farce that takes this jerk down a coke-fueled paranoia parade, spraying the town with evidence of his guilt like a topless blender set to liquefy.  This book is flat-out fun.


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Speedboat (NYRB Classics) Cover Image
By Renata Adler, Guy Trebay (Afterword by)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781590176139
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Published: NYRB Classics - March 19th, 2013

Though not an underlinin' highlightin' dog-earer, I'll scribble rough/illegible/coded garble on whatever bookmark or receipt that ends up in my current book's progressional path. Many scripted scraps and 20 pages into 'Speedboat' I accepted that the notable moments in the book just WERE the book. I put the pen away and recycled the receipts recyclable. The bookmark stays, as I will re-read and reference this one for many years to come.


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Dark Satellites Cover Image
By Clemens Meyer, Katy Derbyshire (Translator)
$17.95
ISBN: 9781913097134
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Published: Fitzcarraldo Editions - May 26th, 2020

The evolution of a moment and the miles between chance encounters in the stylings of an intentionally skip-riddled record.  When others jazzercise through "...to B" Meyer sits and meditates on "From A...".  Peak bleak!  Short on time?  Read "The Crack" then reconsider your schedule.


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Ducks, Newburyport Cover Image
$22.95
ISBN: 9781771963077
Availability: May be on our shelves or available in 5-7 business days
Published: Biblioasis - September 10th, 2019

Imagine this classic switched-at-birth situation (names and time periods ignored): The director of “Twister” picks up the script for “Inception.”  On day one of filming, the A.D. pleads “But boss, this seams to be a film about dreams-inside-of-dreams-inside-of-dreams” and the prideful director, refusing to own up to the clearly near-sighted mistake replies “Nope!  It’s a tornado movie!  ROLE CAMERA!”  [For realsies, the calls to my mother and moments shared with my cat whilst inside this beautiful, exhausting, exhaustive maelstrom were more the precious to me, though COMPLETELY unexplainable to them.]


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The End of Me Cover Image
By Alfred Hayes, Paul Bailey (Introduction by)
$15.95
ISBN: 9781681374338
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Published: NYRB Classics - June 9th, 2020

I imagine Neil Simon picking up Asher (our narrator) from Raymond Chandler's yard sale in L.A., thinking that with a little dust up and polish, he could find a swell use for him.  Back in New York, with too much on his plate, Simon lends Asher out to James Purdy on the weekends.  Somewhere near the end of this arrangement, there was even a scare when Asher was left in a Yellow Cab driven by Donald Barthelme.  
This book is perfect short, perfect sweet and perfect to the point.  Hot dog.


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Unwitting Street Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781681374888
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: NYRB Classics - August 18th, 2020

I'd love to hear these bizarre fables of personified thoughts, rogue clothings and fanciful drunk fantasies told in front of a roaring fire.  Each story both eery and cozy as a waiting room designed by Winsor McCay, full of jokes, mightedly tidily dressed up in funeral wear.  


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Cool for America: Stories Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780374108168
Availability: In our warehouse - should ship in 5-7 business days.
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - July 7th, 2020

Both optimism and pessimism are doled out evenly enough to turn a played-out teeter-totter into a much needed park bench, pinpointing the humor in stress and excitement of the blah.  The stories share similar themes and flow together like a long peek into a randomized ‘What If?’ contraption.  My favorites are the third person tales (’Attention’ = my vote for Prom Queeng) that left me questioning 'Do I love this character, the narrator or, why not, both?' 


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Bubblegum: A Novel Cover Image
$29.95
ISBN: 9780385544962
Availability: In our warehouse - should ship in 5-7 business days.
Published: Doubleday - April 14th, 2020

 I cried and laughed out loud so many times throughout this book (a couple moments that inspired both were the breakdown of how it feels to have $25 billion vs. $20 billion in your bank account and 'The Golden Child' volume/valium story).  Similar (to me) to his previous novel's ('The Instructions') main character, Belt's style of breaking down a single moment of thought was so addictive. I kept wanting more but some paragraphs/pages made me feel like I just ran a brain marathon, so many breaks from reading were taken. That's not a diss!  As a once physically sick and mentally questionable child from a family on a tight budget, I felt the mother/son flashbacks were perfect in so many ways. I'm fighting back the urge to jabber on about how much I loved these near-tears moments (and heavy tears after her letters to Belt near the middle of the novel).  The father/son relationship was very hard to decipher at first, but the third third of the book was swimming in wonderful interactions.  (I have more to say, but it all leads to Spoilertown.  My full review is on my Goodreads page.  You've been warned...)


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Fools' Gold Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781598536348
Availability: In our warehouse - should ship in 5-7 business days.
Published: Library of America - July 7th, 2020

An unguarded pile of cash just gathering dust in an old defenseless widow's house?   Sitting there under a coat in an unoccupied room?  Of course a couple of young ne're-do-wells hatch a plan to just walk right in and grab it, but loose lips instantly sink ships.  Right out of the gate there are too many crooks in the kitchen, sometimes one entering just as another left moments ago, creating a convoluted mess of a crime scene and a delightful read.  From the street thugs to the seasoned looters to the Las Vegas white-collar criminal, everyone is far too blinded by the thought of getting their hands on that cash to think/act reasonably.  This leads to a revelation for one character, a nondrinker, who chooses an AA meeting to be his alibi as the crime goes down (way down).  Listening to the stories of one member he realizes, tearfully, that crime is his booze, but from here on out he will live his life crime-free!  After he gets his payout for this last one, of course... then he'll quit.  The story is messes upon mishaps upon misfires which makes for great pulp.