There is a stylistic no-man’s-land where many an alleged comic novel has crashed with a resounding thud. But Dallasite WILL CLARKE navigates the terrain with reckless abandon in his wry and inventive debut, LORD VISHNU’S LOVE HANDLES: A SPY NOVEL (SORT OF) (Simon & Schuster). Meet Travis Anderson, whose psychic abilities have not only made him a successful dot-com entrepreneur but have also attracted a federal spy program’s unwanted attentions. He reluctantly signs on because, well, he owes the IRS $5 million in back taxes, which went unpaid while Anderson played games online and his partner snorted away their company’s cash reserves. Lord Vishnu’s Love Handles is flawed—its slapstick action makes for a story that’s broader than it is deep—but a spoof this promising is cause to celebrate.
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