Book thirty-something I have finished this year I know, I have never read so much since study days!
The premise is a “Road Tip Comedy”. A young chef in a Japanese restaurant with exuberant knife skills and a tendency to berate the customers is suddenly and unceremoniously given the sack with a condition – he goes to a different restaurant under the guise of a spy for the ‘big Mr M’ to try and persuade the cantankerous often cruel restaurant owner to retire and let his restaurant be taken over [think Chinese/Japanese family/mafia-esque goings on]. To make sure young Eric arrives and does not abscond he is accompanied by two failed sumos, who own money and honour to big Mr M for being brought to the freedoms of America. So you get the idea, three unlikely travellers set out in a rusted truck from Kansas City Missouri to deepest darkest Oregon; all three a little shy of life.
The pace of the book is uneven, sometimes too quick, feeling like you’ve skipped a page or a chapter and sometimes too slow and you wish the writer would get on with it. For a road trip very little [I would say less than half] is to do with the trip itself. The writer only has two tale, the second when the truck breaks down which means Eric takes off to find help and ends up separated from his sumo friends. I reread a couple of chapters because I felt I missed how they all found each other again [or didn’t]. The greater part of the second half of the book is about the two sumos at the chicken factory where the owner [big Mr M’s brother’s scheming widow] has placed upon their heads a hefty life insurance policy and is arranging an industrial accident with big Mr M’s #2 [see what I mean about ‘da family’ thing]; and Eric’s working at the Restaurant of the angry colonel who has lost all he held dear in his life, how they form an unlikely bond when an attempt is made to permanently retire him from the restaurant business, also revealing how big Mr M’s #2 is embezzling funds [tsk tsk].
A road trip? Well not exactly, and to my mind not enough to qualify.
A comedy? Hmm … no it was not laugh-out-loud funny, there were a few, but too few, amusing moments.
A happy ever after? Of course there is, retired colonel falls in love with the reclusive mother of the gal Eric met while hiding out i the dessert [as you do].
Sadly, it did not live up to the standards of the blurb and synopsis, but it was free, so a bargain!