Reviewed by R. Read
Talk about a bad day.
Author Bruce Wessell takes us on a wild and fun ride in his new humor novel Double Down.
Main character Johnny Riskin is a pavement-pounding sales rep for a food-service company. He is looking forward to receiving a prestigious sales award this weekend, and the hefty monetary bonus that comes with it.
But his boss delivers the bad news in person. A few key accounts have caused Johnny to lose out on the prize. Even though his boss assures him that there is nothing he could have done to change the outcome, Riskin is not so sure.
Johnny trusted his boss Dick Bass as much as a politician’s promise.
Capping off this crap morning, Riskin returns home only to find his long-term girlfriend cheating on him in his own bed. But in a last-stitch effort to turn around his day, our main character steals a bag of unattended cash, bolts out of the restaurant’s back door, and hops on a plane to Vegas, ready to change his bad luck.
In this page-turning adventure, Johnny encounters all of the vices you hope to expect out of Sin City. He gambles with his stolen money, endures some wildly strange encounters, and meets up with a cast of colorful characters. From loud partiers to a drunken bachelorette party to a set of Russian mobsters, this novel is a late-night comedy of lightness and downright fun.
“…just as he was near the top of the mountain, an avalanche of bullshit had sent him tumbling down.”
However, the book does have some issues as well. At times, it feels a bit like it could have been three separate stories, resulting in the occasionally disjointed start and stop. While these stories are almost always fun, it does bring unwanted attention to the potential need of an editor’s final pass-through. In addition to small grammar issues, the novel suffers from repetitive language and jokes teetering a bit too close to the edge of offensiveness in the face of humor.
But for a reader looking for some late-night fun and hijinks in Las Vegas, Double Down by author Bruce Wessell is a worthwhile purchase. Johnny Riskin is going to take you on a wild and crazy adventure, so prepare your stolen money. Get ready to gamble. This novel is a blast just waiting to happen.
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