When I started blogging I had said I was only going to write about new releases here. I realized a bit later that I meant new releases as libraries define them (we may consider a book "new" for up to two years at PCLS). But lately I have found myself reading a number of older books and realized that I have in fact been writing about a number of older titles and decided to explicitly abandon the new releases plan and just write about whatever I happen to be reading, which in this case is a novel from the 1980′s that I recently rediscovered.
The librarians have classified Metzger’s Dog as a mystery, but it isn’t really. When I was a bookstore clerk back in the 80′s we considered it general fiction, and while it has some elements of a thriller it really doesn’t fall into any sub-genre. A group of former mercenaries in Los Angeles learn that a pound of cocaine is being kept in a research lab at UCLA and set out to steal it. While doing so they serendipitously manage to steal a box of papers from another office, which happens to belong to a social science researcher who has done significant work for the CIA in "psyops". After selling the cocaine back to the dealer from whom the police had seized it in the first place, the gang gets around to reading the papers and slowly comes to realize what they have.
So their next step is to try to sell the papers back to the CIA. Much madness ensues and the book is at times laugh out loud funny. At one point, after the spooks have unsuccessfully tried to pull a double cross the gang decides to implement one of the plans to demonstrate they mean business. Carefully following the stolen script they sabotage a key phone company installation and stage spectacular collisions at 17 key freeway choke points, wrecking havoc in el lay. In the end, after a change of management at Langley the spooks cough up the money, the head mercenary marries his girl and the new CIA director and his wife attend the wedding.
I was disappointed that I really didn’t enjoy this book re-reading it in 2007 near as much as I had the first time around in 1980-something. Partly it’s that phones, airports and so much else have changed to the point that few of the exploits described could be pulled off today. Also, I think that my tastes have evolved a great deal over a quarter of a century and this book did not age well for me.
(Hoping to hear today about the job I interviewed for on Wednesday and looking forward to my Friday & Sunday weekend = working a full day in Eatonville Saturday.)