Austin Peebles, a Democratic candidate for Congress and the scion of two Kennedy-esque political families, has a sext of his land in the hands of one of his arch-nemeses, June Forteene, a hardcore right-wing blogess who makes Ann Coulter look rational by comparison. Enter Grant and Chase, a middle-aged couple who get hired to steal the picture back at any cost. Along the way, they have to enlist the help of lesbian con artists, shopping divas, an alcoholic driver, and a bratty potential Congressman (excuse me, Representative) to get the job done and to get their money.
This story unites a lot of my disparate interests. Politics? Check. Elaborately planned crime routines? Check. Superheros? Sorta-check. Spearing the hard right wing? Check, check, check.
You can’t go into this book expecting it to be a serious caper novel. From the word go, Byrnes embraces the ludicrousness of the concept and imbues the novel with farcical elements. Although the novel never enters full camp, some of the scenes are so ridiculous in their resolution (particularly when Grant and Chase are trying to fool other people in the commission of crimes) that I had to put the book down for a minute and look away before stealing myself to get to the other side of the scene.
My favorite part of this book is the characters. The ridiculous June Forteene is great with her daily affirmations and her frantic, Palin-esque conspiracy blog. On the other side of the political scale, technophobe Grant and confused costume crusader Nick provide a warming touch on this ridiculous tale. The entire posse is worth remembering, and the book is fun to read.
Although occasionally it jumps the shark into ludicrous waters, Byrnes’ Strange Bedfellows is worth a read for anyone looking for gay, crime, and politics mixed together with a dash of camp.
JMF Rating: 5.5/10
Full disclaimer: This is a review of a galley received from the publisher through the NetGalley ARC distribution process. If you would like more information, please visit www.netgalley.com.