The humor verges on slapstick in this fast and easy-to-read book that's a comedy of errors, mistaken identities and general craziness. Although Russ Smonig is a pleasant character, this book can't compare to Wiprud's taxidermy novels, Stuffed and Pipsqueak.

A fishing guide in a small Pennsylvania town, Russ moved to the country when his wife was killed in a car crash 10 years previously. His life is pretty empty until new neighbor Sid "Sleep" Bifulco moves next door. A former wise guy turned informant, he is out on parole and finally going to realize a long-held ambition to be a fisherman. He's practiced his casting, learned to tie flies, bought all of the latest equipment and now he wants Russ to take him out.

When a freak accident happens right in front of Sid's door, Russ and friends are dependent on Sid's former skills. There's an incriminating videotape floating around, and while everyone runs in circles trying to cover their butts and find it, silliness ensues. (Dell, Oct., 256 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Lorraine Gelly