Who is Teddy Villanova?

Diversion Books
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Pulitzer Prize nominee and author of The Feud, Thomas Berger displays his genre bending prowess once more in this mystery turned comedy, featuring unforgettable dialogue and an extremely fun cast of characters.

“Berger’s style, which is one of the great pleasures of the book, is something like S.J. Perelman’s—educated, complicated, graceful, silly, destructive in spirit and brilliant.” —Leonard Michaels, New York Times Book Review

Russel Wren is a man of big words, only trapped in a small living space.

An unlicensed private eye with an equally unlicensed handgun, Russel’s one big case away from becoming a household name and being able to pay his rent. Until then, our loquacious hero is content with blending his work life with his home life—mostly by living in his office.

Or, he was content, until a huge man looking for a Teddy Villanova arrived not just to threaten Russel and pummel him senseless, but to mysteriously reappear as a corpse mere hours later. To make matters more complicated, Russel finds a letter addressed to Teddy Villanova from a man named Donald Washburn II posing a threat to Villanova as serious as the beating Russel endured on his behalf.

When the police who finally arrive to investigate the corpse in Russel’s office instead threaten to pin the murder on him and offer him his second beating of the day, Russel is certain of two things: First, that those are not real cops and second: someone, somewhere, has made a horrible mistake. Russel doesn’t just dive into this mystery to save his own life, but to fulfill his far-off dream of living on more than instant noodles.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Diversion Books
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Published on
Jul 12, 2016
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Pages
252
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ISBN
9781682306925
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Absurdist
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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In a gritty thriller from the acclaimed author whom William Vollmann called "a real storyteller," a street-smart young woman takes what looks like an easy job and ends up having to solve a murder case -- before the next body that turns up is her own.

Queenie Sells is having what she thinks is a good day. After getting fired from her job at a calendar company for botching Daylight Savings, she is informally hired by a wealthy acquaintance to track down his girlfriend, a stripper named Trigger Happy. But Queenie's seemingly good luck turns hard when she finds Trigger dead in her apartment.

Now Queenie's daily routine of being a drunk smart-ass is put on hold as she becomes both a suspect for the murder and the target for an unknown predator. Hopping from bar to bar, from Coney Island clam stands to the Waldorf-Astoria, she inadvertently lands on the trail of Trigger's killer and puts herself in the line of fire.

Along the way she meets Rey, a private eye with a soft spot for tough-talking ladies; Detective Olds, the stuttering cop who thinks Queenie's the culprit; and a dozen New York denizens, among them a cult recruiter, a hit man, a thief, and even Rip Torn -- some strange, some sad, some sweet, and some deadly, every one dropping in and out of Queenie's life as she searches for each fragile piece of the puzzle that may eventually lead her to the truth.

With danger closing in on her, Queenie can't help but realize the precariousness of her own mortality. As she stares out of the window at an old lady on the corner, she thinks, "There is nothing separating you from that old lady right now -- maybe something, maybe time is all, but that's really nothing when you think about it." After all, thinks Queenie, it's just days. But unless she can find the killer before the killer finds her, Queenie's days are seriously numbered.
Every now and then, a small American town produces someone with such out-of-place talent that he seems to have come from a different world. In the 1960s hardscrabble town of Laroque, Wisconsin, seventeen-year-old Ginger Piper, a high school sports hero and a disarmingly poised and articulate young man, is that sort of figure. Or at least G. Bowman Epps—a rich, lonely, middle-aged lawyer—believes he is.

Bow is something of a town legend too: Ungainly and scarred, brilliant and stern, famous for great inherited wealth, he seems a vestige of a time gone by in a town where the legacy of past greatness—embodied in the ornate, decaying, and defunct opera house—casts a literal shadow. But when Bow discovers Ginger Piper, he is energized and inspired. Where others have seen merely a charming basketball star, Bow spies the seeds of something greater and the drive, intelligence, and passion to carry on Bow’s legacy as a groundbreaking criminal attorney. When Bow offers the boy a summer apprenticeship in his orderly practice, it is an investment in a certain future, and the initiation of an oddly matched friendship. But when Ginger is accused of a startling crime that changes the town's perception of him, Bow is not only surprised, he’s also implicated, and forced to choose between his fierce sense of logic and his admiration for the boy.

The story unfolds as the first agonizing repercussions of the Vietnam War are being felt and the American people are struggling to comprehend a new kind of war. It inspires a startling division between the generations at home, as politics and personal lives inevitably collide.

Bow’s investigator, Charlie Stuart, narrates the events thirty years later, adding a perspective colored by tortured memories of his manic father and his halting pursuit of a young woman in town. Anchored by a compelling mystery, Bow’s Boy is ultimately about greatness, heroism, loyalty, and justice, and the pain and solace of family.
Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, The Feud chronicles a hilariously destructive rivalry between families from neighboring towns in 1930s America.

"I marked my copy of THE FEUD with a star wherever its blend of irony, parody and slapstick made me laugh out loud; some pages look like a map of the Milky Way." —The Washington Post Book World

“A comic masterpiece” —Anne Tyler

What begins as a small spat over an unlit cigar in a hardware store spirals out of control for Dolf Beller and Bud Bullard. Dolf has come to make good on a promise he made to his wife years ago. Feeling generous, he’s finally getting around to stripping the varnish off her dresser to reveal the mahogany within. It’s a job he’s never done before, and worst of all, the teenager that’s supposed to be helping him at the counter begins hassling him for chomping on an unlit cigar.

When Bud Jr. calls over his father to talk things out, Dolf is about ready for a fight. He just wasn’t prepared to have a gun drawn on him by a one of Bud Bullard’s relative—who just happened to be there and happened to love impersonating a police officer. Left embarrassed and begging for his life, Dolf goes home and tells a version of his story his pride can live with. He also bars his family from communicating with any of the Bullards. Conflict resolved.

Until the next day, when Bud’s hardware store goes up in flames and Dolf’s car explodes. Unable to see the incidents as unrelated, these two families enter a battle that’s as bitter as it is funny. With rich characters dotting every page, this is a Berger classic that can’t be put down.
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