Picks and Pans Review: Whale Season

updated 01/30/2006 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/30/2006 AT 01:00 AM EST

By N.M. Kelby

For the hucksters of Whale Harbor, Fla., salvation isn't what it seems, especially since a schizophrenic killer who thinks he's Jesus is the one who's doing the offering. That, more or less, is the plot of Kelby's third novel, a fast piece of pop-lit that fans of Tom Robbins will enjoy. The focus is on Leon, a loser who bests the ersatz savior at poker; he wins “the American Dream,” Jesus's RV, unknowingly putting his friends in harm's way. “ ‘I won,' Leon screams, then sputters. “Thank you Jesus, thank you.' He presses his face against the window, looks outside at the American Dream, the tin can beauty of it.” Whale Season is an engrossing story of deliverance told like a parable about second chances.

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