If you’re looking for a light, quick, entertaining, summer read, When Pigs Fly is an excellent choice. Retired technical writer Bob Sanchez has released his first novel and it’s a slam-bang hoot with the offbeat energy of Raising Arizona raging through its pages. In fact, most of the action takes place in Arizona, and that’s not a bad coincidence at all.

The storyline is both twisted and convoluted, so try to stay with me here. Since I never give away any more of a book’s plotline than I as a consumer would want to read in a review, the following description is merely the beginning. An eighty-year-old couple in Lowell, MA, buys a lottery ticket with the jackpot numbers printed right on it. A stinky, three-hundred-pound, sleazebucket thief steals the ticket, but he does not put it in his pocket. The thief has already been sentenced to a time of less than one year for a previous conviction, and the ticket is good for a year. Instead of cashing it in immediately, he hides the ticket inside an urn in the couple’s house, planning to retrieve it after serving his time.

Little does he know that the urn contains the ashes of a dead city policeman. The son of the couple is a retired Lowell cop now living in Arizona. After losing his longtime wife, Mack Durgin had chosen to retire where he and his wife had always planned. He had not planned to receive a FedEx package from his parents containing the urn of ashes, the hot ticket, and some costume jewelry his addled elderly mom had included as a bonus. Mack has a drunken quickie with a lady of less than stellar reputation, and her boyfriend with a tattoo of a brain on his skull doesn’t care for the dalliance. Two brothers in crime once familiar to Officer Durgin back in Lowell join forces with the brain/skull guy and Mr. Piggie to track down the high-flying lottery ticket. In the meantime, Mack has come to his erotic senses and begun courting a nicer young lady, one whose charms have also entranced an Elvis impersonator who doesn’t know when to zip up. Last, but far from the least interesting, is Poindexter, a pet javelina pig that has just won a big ribbon as his owner’s science project. Trust me: you’ll be rootin’ for Poindexter all the way to the end!

A lot of action, humor, poignant dialogue, and, of course, wild and crazy characters have been crammed between the covers of When Pigs Fly. Bob Sanchez has said that he enjoys making people laugh, a concept that becomes obvious from the style of his first novel. Due to line spacing within the dialogue and the presence of many short chapters, When Pigs Fly is a somewhat quicker read than its page count might imply. You’ll fly through this quirky little story just like Poindexter!

When Pigs Fly is available from Amazon, B&N, and other fine retailers.

(iUniverse / 0-595-40770-6 / 978-0-595-40770-5 / November 2006 / 307 pages / $18.95)

Floyd M. Orr is a book critic, commentator, and the author of four books, including the lighthearted Plastic Ozone Daydream and Timeline of America.

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