Top positive review
Page Turning Historical Adventure
July 3, 2017
One day in 1976 after they fail their Intro to Philosophy midterm, The Ohio State University students Albert and Waxy have a supposedly great drunken idea of running off to Alaska and making their fortune working on the trans-Alaskan pipeline. They are a couple of endearing wisecracking knuckleheads who soon get over their heads when they arrive in Anchorage Alaska after a cross country trip in their self-titled Blue Bus. Albert is the good looking rich kid who always succeeds at getting what he wants and Waxy is his farm boy sidekick. They get jobs at a bar called Fenway Park West which is owned by Beantown Bob, Albert as the bartender and Waxy as the dishwasher. Albert begins an ill-advised affair with Bob’s girlfriend CiCi. They get involved with Jimmi the Pilot’s drug smuggling operation and their problems escalate. He is a former Vietnam War Navy pilot. They hear about a wrecked airplane holding millions of dollars and search for it based on a clue from Moe the Eskimo, the cook at the bar. Albert and Waxy must find a way to keep their boss happy, help Jimmi escape his Mexican drug cartel suppliers, and find a fortune all while trying to purchase illegal Union cards so that they can work on the pipeline.
The tension of the story is ramped up as it continues onto the climax. Albert gets a job on the pipeline using a stolen work permit. He is one step away from being found out. Jimmi the Pilot takes Waxy on his drug runs to the pipeline. They get on the wrong side of the drug cartel and are in danger of being killed. Beantown Bob sinks all the rest of his money into the search for a downed Army payroll plane. If they don’t find the plane, then he will be financially ruined. They will all be ruined if they don’t find the money; including Waxy’s girlfriend waitress Emma, Albert’s secret girlfriend singer CiCi, and CiCi’s brother and bandmate Dylan. They need to find that plane on Bahammy Mammy Glacier before winter comes to Alaska when no one will be flying.
I liked the set up to this novel. The author creates many interesting characters that all have compelling motivations. The dialogue feels real for these characters. The setting is different and interesting. What keeps this from being a great novel is that Albert and Waxy do not grow emotionally from their adventures and there is a less than satisfactory ending. The first scene of the novel occurs just before the last scene of the novel. The last scene resolves as the reader might expect it to resolve. There is an epilogue that feel tacked on and raises more questions than it answers. I wish that Albert and Waxy had learned from their adventures, so that I would have enjoyed this novel more. I’m glad I met Albert, Waxy, and their companions for this fun page turning historical adventure.