*** My Name is Russell Fink, by Michael Snyder, 2008
When I go to Nashville, which is not often these days, I have dinner with Snyderman if he can fit me into his schedule. We hooked up via email not long after Welcome to Fred came out. He's the guy that turned me on to Richard Russo. And Doug Coupland. And Lisa Samson.
I knew from reading Snyder's early stuff that it was only a matter of time before he got published. Then I read the toad-licker story and I realized that I didn't want to introduce him to my editor because I didn't need the competition. When you read an opening that goes:
“Kill the toad, man. Before it kills you.”
You know you're about to read something special. And it is. Read it. It's not that long and after you finish, you'll know if you want to rush out and get the novel or not. A few elements of that story made it into My Name Is Russel Fink, but not the toad part. Or the rock star part. Maybe in the next book. I really miss the toad. I got a chance to read Fink for endorsement. In the last 4 years, half a dozen publishers have sent me books for endorsement, some written by friends, some by strangers. I declined to endorse everything that I got. Until Fink.
I'm a pretty picky guy. I have ecclectic and highly subjective tastes. And I expect that when readers of the FredBooks see my name endorsing a book, they're going to be expecting something at least a bit out of the mainstream. And they're right. In this case, considerably out of the mainstream.
I'm not going to describe the plot of the book. You can find that in other places. Instead I'm just going to say, if you like the vibe of the toad-licker story, get the book. If you don't, stick with whoever it is that you read.