A Hiaasenesque comedy in the sense that odd characters connect in even odder circumstances. Entertaining plot through and through - most especially the final scene, with the motley group of hitmen and the misunderstood pest control professional running for their lives through Little Italy, upsetting a Mafia dinner and causing a scene, in itself.
You'd never know this was Fitzhugh's first novel - it's tightly knit, the loose ends are resolved at the end, and my GOD is this funny!
I read this a while ago, and don't remember a lot of details, but it was very funny, in a dark way. The protag is an exterminator who posts an ad to get more business. The ad is misinterpreted by some gangsters, who set out to hire him as a hit man.
I totally enjoyed this book. A comedy of errors. Bob Dillon works for a pest control company. Bugs are his life. On the side he is working on developing an environmentally friendly way to kill bugs. He advertises and his ads fall into the wrong hands. Someone is looking for an assassin and decides to give Bob a try. When the other top assassins in the world get into the game, Bob ends up running for his life, while trying out his radical new ideas. Lots of fun!
Fired from his job with a pest control company in Queens, New York, Bob Dillon starts his own business using his environmentally friendly technique: hybrid killer insects that eat cockroaches. Meanwhile, Marcel, a broker who contracts for assassins, is looking for a reliable newcomer to complete a million-dollar hit. He advertises and Bob responds, neither understanding the nature of the other's "exterminating" business. Very shortly thereafter, ten of the most dangerous hitpersons in the world descend on Queens, which is pretty dangerous itself and more than up to the challenge.
This story was a wonderful change for me. I normally read mysteries, crime drama, medical crime/mystery etc. But this one is different in that I actually found myself laughing at different points in the story! A very well written story, I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good laugh.
I read it back when it first came out and just re-read it. Its a fast read, and the summary above gives the basics of the plot.
In terms of drawbacks, it reads like a movie. This is not a bad thing, but it shows. Keep it in mind, park your brain a bit and enjoy.
Otherwise, its a lot of fun involving the misadventures of one Bob Dillon as he is mistaken for a professional assassin, just as he tries to get his environmentally safe, non-toxic pest control business up and running. From there he interacts with Klaus, the number one assassin in the world, the CIA and a broker for assassins.
A neat vignette here, similar to another one that turns up in Organ Grinders, is a marketing pitch that as an MBA I give high marks, and might just work...
The story is meant to be funny, but is only mildly amusing. Other than the hopes and dreams of the bug exterminator and the worlds' number one assassin, there is no depth to this story. The yuck factor is that it provides way more information about insects then I have ever wanted to know. I finished the book to the predictable conclusion, but not without skipping over the detailed descriptions of various bugs and their eating habits.