Blast From the Past by Kinky Friedman (humorous detective novel, 1998).

Always outrageous and now 71 years old as i write this, Kinky Friedman is–among other things–a country singer (most famous as headliner of the Texas Jewboys), a (playfully radical) political activist and a no-hold-barred satirist who presents fictionalized versions of himself and his buddies (famous and otherwise) in his novels.

Blast from the Past was his 11th book. A prequel to his earlier novels, it flashes back to the early days of his extended sojourn in the New York during the crime-ridden, drug-addled 1970s and details (or so we are told), the true story of how he blundered into becoming the city’s most unorthodox and smart-mouthed amateur detective.

It seems that in between drinking way too much (he does loves his Jamieson Irish Whisky), snorting way too many drugs (ah, all that Peruvian Marching Powder!) and playing the occasional gig (earning him just enough money to keep going), the Kinkster somehow found the time to acquire a new “pelvic acquaintance” (i.e. girlfriend). Someone isn’t happy about that and makes a series of attempts on his, her and/or both their lives. A case of mistaken identity even puts famous then-on-the-run ’60s radical Abbie Hoffman (who’s one of Kinky’s many old buddies, of course) briefly under threat.

A great many of his (extremely) motley crew of buddies (later known as the Village Irregulars) figure in the action. It’s as much an origin story for them as for Kinky’s unofficial career as a latter-day Sherlock Holmes (with Larry “Ratso” Sloman his decidedly scruffy Dr. Watson).  Fans of Friedman’s rollicking and unapologetic, good-natured, drugged-out and wildly (let’s hope) fictionalized adventures will surely love this typically politically incorrect romp.

But if you’ve never read the Kinkster, this might be the place to start. It’s funny and fast-moving, a funhouse mirror-distorted version of a time now long-gone. Nothing is too sacred for Richard “Kinky” Friedman to make fun of–most especially himself and the wacky people that he surrounds himself with.






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