2012 (but recently revised and reissued); 216 pages. New Author? : Yes. Genre : Humor. Overall Rating : 7½*/10.
Suexliegh (pronounced “Swoo-Lee-Ay”) is a man who has it all – virtually unlimited riches, unbelievable luck, supreme self-confidence, a blue-blood pedigree, and a devoted and perfect butler named Quincy.
Quincy considers it an honor to be in Suexliegh’s employ. It would be a great legacy to pass on to his son, Quincy Junior, who is an eager trainee. It would be a job of a lifetime, and a lifetime job; if only Suexliegh had an heir. But for that, a Mrs. Suexliegh is required.
What’s To Like...
The humor is madcap, and initially plentiful. When Suexliegh finds himself under house arrest, his fondness for the horse races is jeopardized. So he simply buys all the houses between him and the racetrack, and expands his property lines accordingly. Sheer genius.
For all his assets, Suexliegh is a pompous antihero. I like antiheroes. And for all his gentility, he is a bundle of stress when it comes to wooing the opposite sex. Ah, but butlers can serve as mentors when needed.
The chapters are short – James Pattersonly short, but it works nicely. The writing is good, but I struggled with the storytelling. It seemed “segmented”. We’d follow one plotline for a while – the races, the jail, the wooing, Dmitri the Painter, the Burgundy Scoundrels, etc, - then that would get unceremoniously dropped, replaced by a different plotline, and off we’d go in a different direction. It didn’t “flow” right for me.
The “tone” of the book also changes as the story progresses. The humor becomes sparser and the emphasis shifts to the development of Suexliegh’s character. Maybe this is inherent to moving the story along, but I for one missed the yuk-yuks.
The ending was a mixed bag. There was no surprise in resolving the girl issue, other than wondering why she didn’t choose “none of the above”. But the resolution of the Quincy/Quimcy Jr. plotline was masterful.
He recognized many of them either by acquaintance or front-page scandal. Verne Dempsey made a fortune when his company, claiming to have cured the common cold, went public until the FDA realized he was just selling ground up Skittles. Jules Reneau eliminated his competition at a French newspaper by tossing him into the paper press while it was running. Needless to say, the story was all over the front page. (loc. 456)
“Quincy, what should I do? I know nothing about women except that they can vote. They can vote, yes?
“Of course, of course. Separate but equal and all that. They’re such an enigma to me, what with their long hair and all.” (loc. 674)
The Success of Suexiegh sells for $2.99 at Amazon. Zack Keller's other offerings appear to all be short stories, but a second full-length novel, Penwell, is said to be close to being published.
A greyhound race without wagers is much like a deviled egg without paprika. Decent, agreeable, but not thrilling. (loc. 587)
Don’t let my quibbles scare you off – The Success of Suexliegh is a delightful read for anyone who enjoys the antihero more than the hero. The humor was great, and if Suexliegh isn’t fully rehabilitated by the end of the book, at least he’s no longer a complete butthead. Besides, his “needs improvement” status justifies developing this into a series.
7½ Stars. Add 1 star if you enjoy it when antiheroes evade their deserved comeuppance. You might enjoy George MacDonald Fraser’s “Flashman” series.