By: Simon Plaster
Publisher: Mossik Press
Publication Date: October 2020
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
From BOO! to Geezers to Brokla and beyond, I can explain my continuing recommendations of this author in four simple words: I love this guy!
It is not a shocker to see a review of a Simon Plaster book that includes the word “brilliant” or the phrase “the king of satire.” This is an author who takes on the hideous (and at the same time, ridiculous) subjects of today’s world, face them, fight them if need be, and leave the reader not only laughing but finally understanding what the s##t in this world is all about.
I became a huge fan of Simon’s series of standalones that feature small-town reporter turned detective, Henrietta, who was named after her hometown Henryetta, Oklahoma, when they first began. Personally, I think this woman is one character in fiction that the whole state of Oklahoma should bow to because she gives them definite flair.
Beginning on a Tuesday, readers immediately start having fun with the news that an election is on the horizon. (Goodness knows, we finally just got over the last one in real-life). Here, however, we’re talking a race for the Governor. Henrietta is at a point in her life where she’s happy. She is getting a solid paycheck for her work as a private detective, and her boss, Leroy “Lero” O’Rourke has a ton of work on his plate now that he became a “big name” in town for defending an illegal Mexican who was wrongly charged with murder.
Heading into her boss’s office, Henrietta is ready for her next case to be assigned. Opening the door, she first sees political campaign posters of the two men running for Governor. One depicts the Democratic candidate, Richard “Big Dick” Goodman; the other shows his opponent, Montgomery “Big Johnson” Johnson, who is a Republican all about family values. After seeing that, she is passed a file by Lero labeled Crammer vs. Crammer. This case she’s about to take charge of involves a ‘wronged woman’ and a bad marriage. And that’s only a sneak peek at the plot-filled party that’s about to commence.
We soon get involved with two lawyers sitting in their fancy offices on the 20th floor. One is Randolph McCoy who is part of the divorce lawsuit; the other is Andrew Hartfield – opposing counsel – who can be found in the building right across the narrow street. In fact, Hatfield and McCoy (don’t you just love that?) can see each other through their windows. These men are longtime rivals who work hard to one-up the other on a daily basis. Ever since grade school these boys have been competing in every avenue of life: from sports to board games; from making their careers a success to landing women, and earning the highest salary. They do agree on one thing, though: In this life, there was no such thing as a “tie.”
As this divorce case comes to pass, pitting a woman named Lilith against her estranged husband who just happens to be an extremely rich doctor who loves being at the top of society and being invited to any and all prestigious events, things get really out of hand. The doctor, by the way, is a die-hard Republican. Murder, of course, is a hot topic in this tale, and trying to figure out the ‘who, what, why and how’ is again one of Simon Plaster’s greatest gifts.
Not only is it a whole lot of fun to delve further into the Crammer matter, but readers will also be educated on organizations with names like, “Doctors Without Limits Political Action Committee” and the “Christian Family Circle.” (Think about those for a while.) It seems on every page there are people versus people, groups versus groups, and lawyers versus lawyers...everyone is battling. Henrietta remains the lone character with common sense (thank goodness) who can work through these ridiculous wars in order to solve every question that arises.
The culmination of the tale where a revelation is offered occurs during a high-brow golf tournament with the backdrop of a huge storm, and adds even more fun to the whole political enchilada. This author needs a fan club set up for him, PRONTO! (You can count on me paying annual membership dues.)
Quill says: So funny, you’ll wish that THIS was the election we had to deal with instead of the real one. This one was far more entertaining.
For more information on VERSUS: A Tale of Zero-Sum Contestation, please visit the author's Goodreads page at: Goodreads.SimonPlaster.com