The Prisoner of Vandam Street by Kinky Friedman
A Novel

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Synopsis

Alfred Hitchcock's classic film Rear Window gets an affectionate kick in the butt in this homage from master crime writer, philosopher, and equal-opportunity offender Kinky Friedman.

It's a case of malaria versus murder when private dick extraordinaire Kinky Friedman comes down with a tropical disease, in the jungle known as New York City, and is confined to his loft on Vandam Street in lower Manhattan, a prisoner in his own home with only his cat and black puppet head as company (neither of whom are great conversationalists).
With little to do but stare out the window in between bedridden bouts of fever and hallucinations, Kinky calls on assistance from the stalwart Village Irregulars, who proceed to dish out their own uniquely skewed brand of tea and sympathy, turning the loft into a virtual Mardi Gras of confusion and drunken debauchery.
Suffering almost as much from company overload as from his fever, Kinky welcomes a rare moment of calm as he finds himself once again alone in his loft. Resuming his position at the kitchen window, he spots a pretty young woman in an apartment across the street. What he hopes might be titillating turns terrifying, however, as a man joins the woman and proceeds to attack her. Sure that he's witnessed a crime, Kinky calls in the cops, but, upon investigating his claim, they can find neither a victim nor an apartment across the street. In addition, no one else saw or heard anything that would ndicate a crime had taken place. Was it foul play or merely a fevered dream?
Convinced that their friend is about to slip off into the land of eternal slumber, the Village Irregulars increase their vigilance and in the process raise the Kinkster's irritability level to an all-time high. Not to be deterred, however, Kinky sticks to his story and is rewarded when a few days later he sees the man in the apartment again, but this time with a gun.
Outrageous, audacious, and ingeniously crafted, The Prisoner of Vandam Street is vintage Kinky: irreverent, clever, and full of the hardened philosophy and mordant wit that has earned him a vast and devoted readership. But what more would you expect from the writer The New York Times has called "The world's funniest, bawdiest, and most politically incorrect country music singer turned mystery writer"?
 

About Kinky Friedman

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Kinky Friedman is an author, musician, defender of strays, cigar smoker, and the governor of the heart of Texas.
 
Published March 16, 2004 by Simon & Schuster. 240 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Prisoner of Vandam Street

Kirkus Reviews

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The doc orders the Kinkster to keep close to his bed for six weeks, watched over by his raffish Vandam Street Irregulars—sometime partner Steve Rambam, old pal Ratso Sloman, photographer Mick Brennan, visiting Australian Piers Akerman, and McGovern, who’s growing selectively and irritatingly deaf...

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Publishers Weekly

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(Mar. 8) Forecast: The publicity surrounding Friedman's tongue-in-cheek campaign for the Texas governorship, plus praise for his prose (Friedman also writes a column for Texas Monthly magazine) from George W.

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Alibi

Many of the best parts of the book, though, would make even better song lyrics, like his long hallucinogenic riff on cat shit, inspired by his cat's pooping on everything in his apartment except the litter box.

May 27 2004 | Read Full Review of The Prisoner of Vandam Street...

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