Subtitled “An autobiographical novel” Nick Ullett’s book is a lighthearted buddy film waiting to be made. The author actually came to America as half the comedy team Hendra and Ullett. After some struggle with differences in humor, the two had an unexpectedly dandy time eventually appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Who knows whether character descriptions (kind of updated Damon Runyon) or bizarre bookings – the Old Soldiers’ Cruise – are based on truth? Did they really end up drunk in a biker bar one night? Did they actually meet the Gabor sisters? Who cares? There are sufficient recognizable touchstones to ground credibility. Think of the book as a palate cleanser. You’re probably reading far too much political news. Jane Austen will be there tomorrow. As will the latest novel.
Somehow Ullett, here Julian Bliss, unwittingly gets involved with a member of a protest group called The Guardian Underground. That Nicole might be the girl of his dreams presents a quandary he long chooses to ignore. Meanwhile, it seems that wherever the young men happen to be, robberies are taking place. Is there a connection?
Having both cops and FBI in close peripheral vision understandably makes Julian anxious. Hendra, here Oliver Blaggard, is oblivious, on many occasions due to alcohol. Well, alcohol features largely in both their lives. But is Oliver being straight with his partner? He seems to frequently meet with people outside their circle of acquaintance. Types, one might say.
The pot of jam into which the “Blighties,” as they’re often called by idiot Americans, fall becomes increasingly dangerous. Nicole keeps turning up without warning. She seems to know all the back ways in and manages to deploy feminine influence on various guards. Innate lack of guile helps Julian sidestep the law for longer than one might imagine. Finally, a desperate action on his part surprises everyone, not the least himself, saving “the day.” Cleverness follows like a coda.
The Unlikely Adventure of Laggard & Bliss