Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Jack Pendarvis reviews books based on one random sentence

from The Believer

The Shorter Columbia Anthology of Traditional Chinese Literature
Victor H. Mair, editor

And murder, needless to say, is the concern of Heaven, not to be taken lightly.
When ace private eye Johnny Fontaine is killed in the line of duty, he’s mighty surprised to find himself at the pearly gates. After all, he’s been known to hit the bottle and make eyes at the ladies. It turns out that Johnny’s trepidation is well founded: there’s one little catch before he can get into Paradise.

Johnny must return to earth for two weeks and perform one completely selfless deed. So far, so good. But nobody warned him about his new incarnation: a lovable if scruffy pooch!

Can Johnny (or “Rover,” as he’s now known) do his good deed—and catch his killer—in time? The Shorter Columbia Anthology of Traditional Chinese Literature is a pleasing mixture of action-adventure and old-fashioned screwball antics. If this reviewer has one complaint, it is that the plot is uncomfortably similar to that of the 1980 classic Oh Heavenly Dog!, starring Chevy Chase.

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