I firmly believe that authors have to play to their strengths and even though How to Successfully Kidnap Strangers might be a niche novel, it showcases the author's uncanny ability to spin a ridiculous, engaging yarn about the inner workings and struggles of small press publishing.
FIVE STARS because this novel is like nothing I've ever read.
HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY KIDNAP STRANGERS is an irreverent, hilarious joyride into the bowels of small press hell. I’m not small press published but as someone who mostly self-publishes, I face many of the same problems including douche reviewers like Harlan Anderson (a once rejected, scorned wanna-be author who writes scathing reviews for all of BILF Publishing’s titles).
Coincidentally, Harlan lands in the hands of the BILF Publishing crew when Billy—a not-so-talented drug-addicted writer—ends up kidnapping him due to a lapse in judgment. Unsure what to do next, Billy head’s to Nick’s (BILF’s editor-in-chief) apartment for help. Not only has Billy kidnapped Harlan, but also a man who ended up in the fray when Billy and Harlan were beating the crap out of each other before the abduction. Who is this guy? Lewis *spoiler alert*, the serial killer. What are the chances? The day goes from bad to worse as the small press people try to hatch an escape plan that includes their star author, Sergio, the brains behind The Cumming of Christ. Only in this world can religious porn seem like a thing.
If you’re sensitive about religion, easily offended, or have issues with vulgarity, you’re going to want to take a hard pass on this one. If you’re a fan of dark humor ala EULOGY and VERY BAD THINGS, you’re in for a treat. Max Booth does a great job handling the story from multiple points of view--eventually. I considered giving the book four stars because there are minor timeline shifts, a big cast that is initially tough to keep track of, and a few editorial grammatical misses but really, I loved this book and I don’t want to end up in anyone’s trunk thank you very much. I’m not sure that anyone who isn’t on the inside, in writing or publishing, will quite get how hilarious this book is, but fellow authors are sure to find at least something in here that ring too true. The chapter titles alone are worth the cost of the book. What did I learn? Well, if times get tough and book sales are down (and let’s face it, they’re always down), I could always lug a crate of books to the street corner and flash people. Thanks, Max, for writing such a fun book.