Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Fate is My Pimp/Romance Takes a Raincheck, by Will Viharo

(pb; 1994, 1995, 2011: second and third novellas in the Vic Valentine series)

From the back cover:

"Fate is My Pimp picks up the torrid trail of Vic Valentine, Private Eye as he traverses the mean streets of San Francisco and beyond in search of a mobster's missing teenage daughter, encountering various voluptuous vixens, a female surf band, and a stalker leaving him mysterious musical messages, all while infiltrating an Elvis-theme commune for runaways, led by a deviously decadent Deacon Rivers.  Follow the further misadventures of this misguided misfit introduced in Love Stories Are Too Violent For Me as he continues looking for love in all the wrong places, and unfortunately for him - finding it.

"Romance Takes a Raincheck finds Vic back on the East Coast, tracking down a lead on his cop father's killer, visiting his mother in an asylum, and reuniting with his high school sweetheart, Dolly Duncan, now married to a doper dentist.  Nothing is what it seems, times and people have changed, and Vic is going to learn the hard way - again - that some bones, and boners, are best left buried."


Fate and Romance, like the first "Vic Valentine" book (Love Stories), are pop and cinematic nostalgic, with lots of clever dialogue, sex and desperation-soaked action.  Not only that, but there's a clear maturation in Valentine, the perpetually horny, prone-to-self-pity P.I., in these sequels: while he's still reeling here and there, he's less a victim than he was in Love - there's a sense that yeah, he could still get frakked over and die, but if it happens, it will more likely be the result of others' decisions and actions, not his.

What further differentiates Fate and Romance from their source book is their varied tones.  While Love had a neo-pulp surrealistic feel to it, Fate ups the mellow-gold wackiness, with its mood-swing characters, its strange groupings (the Elvis cult) and its over-the-top climax; Romance has an appropriate, directly stated East Coast break-your-bones gravitas. 

Both of these sequels are entertaining, memorable and darkly humorous in their lusty violence.  They're also worth owning. 

Followed by the third and fourth "Vic Valentine" novellas I Lost My Heart in Hollywood and Diary of a Dick (which, like Fate and Romance, have been published in one volume).

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