Sunday, March 30, 2014

Book Review: Thomas Berger, Sneaky People (1975)

This review is unfair to Thomas Berger’s Sneaky People, as it is a function of my genre expectations rather than the actual quality of the book. I like Thomas Berger, and when I read a passing reference to Sneaky People as his “noir” novel set in the 1930s, I bought a copy immediately. The plot gets rolling when Buddy Sandifer, owner of a used car lot, puts out a hit on his wife. That sounds noir enough, and the book certainly has its dark moments, but Sneaky People is a sex comedy, and I am the victim of bad intel. I kept waiting for the novel to be something that it never became. If I had encountered Sneaky People in a different context (“Hey, you’ve got to read this hilarious Thomas Berger novel!”), I doubtless would have liked it more. If I could call a do-over and read this book again for the first time, I would. Grade: C+

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