Spurlock is one mellow dude. It could be from his daily routine of nude yoga. Or possibly his meditation and Zen outlook on life. More than likely its that he smokes more weed than Willie Nelson.

Well whatever the reason he seems to be an effective sheriff for Purgatory county Arkansas in this reality of 1996. In this timeline the US has lost a war in the Middle East in 1988 and are now under Soviet occupation. The details of the how are vague but its largely ineffective just troublesome. Except for guerillas operating outside town the residents of Purgatory would hardly notice any change from before the war.

Spurlock’s quiet life is interrupted by the arrival of Senagliero. Senagliaro is the mafia boss from New York who has come to throw his weight around. He is a psychotic who likes to kill people but his shrink says its ok so he just goes with it. He comes to inform Spurlock that the mob is moving in. The cities are becoming unlivable and many of the suburbanites are moving out to the country. The mob plans to offer them drugs, prostitutes and gambling.

Now there is nothing more terrifying to Spurlock than hordes of middle class suburbanites descending on his quiet little town. He tries to make a deal with Senagliero. There are some old mansions outside of town that can be used by the mob. He figures with the mob’s family around they would keep out the unsavory criminal elements. Before he can make a decision Senagliero is humiliated by the local guerrilla leader. He blames Spurlock for this loss of face. Psychotic mobsters can be very temperamental.

After Senagliero leaves Spurlock begins to thinking about his teenage son and daughter in New York. If its as bad in the cities as Senagliero says then he has to help his kids. He resolves to go to New York and bring them home. With his girlfriend who happens to be a witch, they pack up the VW minibus with guns, food and lots of weed.(The weed comes in very handy later on.)

After their zany cross country road trip they arrive in New York and find the largest floating guerilla war going on. To find his kids Spurlock has to deal with Port Authority bureaucrats, transit cops, street gangs, Soviet Spetsnaz, mob hit men, and special mushroom pizzas.(You have to read it to understand.) It all comes to a climactic showdown with the psychotic Senagliero.

Wow. This book. I love it. Its a stoner action book. Everybody in this is smoking weed. Books where the Soviets occupy American always has them sinisterly efficient. The Soviets are in this minor background players that are largely ineffective. True to the spirit of this book they seem to be getting stoned like everybody else.

So this was really an interesting book. It has a fascinating premise with new age hippy crap, eastern mysticism and philosophy, social satire and commentary. And lots and lots of drug use. I don’t think there’s any other book like it.



  1. This sounds magnificently deranged.

    I can kind of imagine the fish-out-of-water comedy of a mob boss figuring New York is too urbanized and maybe somewhere in Arkansas can support his lifestyle, though.

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