Tales of Whiskey Tango from Misery Towers

James Aylott

Publisher: Beautiful Arch Pages: 406 Price: (paperback) $19.99 ISBN: 9798987681213 Reviewed: January, 2024 Author Website: Visit »

Channeling the spirit of bawdy classics like North Dallas Forty, James Aylott marries soap operatic drama to provocative observances about American society for a mixed bag of titillating escapades and adult satire.

The novel is largely set inside Missouri Towers, a high-rise apartment complex with a storied history and views of iconic locales like the St. Louis Arch, and inhabited by two-dozen or so oddballs, iconoclasts and other eccentric personalities.

Among the Tower’s denizens are a Bosnian immigrant and property shark with a Winston Churchill fetish; an aging St. Louis cop growing weary of the city’s violence; an exotic dancer with a rapidly deteriorating sell-by date; and a former high society princess who has parlayed her failed engagement into early retirement. If there’s a lead, it would probably be either Mike Love, a real estate agent who imagines himself to be a Springstreen-esque everyman, or his neighbor Sam Robinson, a mild-mannered divorcee with an incongruous addiction to prostitutes. Mike has his own romantic problems navigating a love triangle. Sam, meanwhile, has the bright idea of offering Alice Jones, his latest “conquest,” the same deal Julia Roberts got in Pretty Woman.

There are plenty of adolescent hijinks afoot, more likely to inspire mild amusement than paroxysms of laughter. And while the book ridicules everyone, there’s an unpleasant political undercurrent. Mike, a Trump follower, sees himself as one of the “…forgotten men of the heartland held back by an unfair, rigged system,” despite any evidence. More concerning is the book’s portrayal of women; while Missouri Tower’s ladies are given a fair shake, others have “…the face of an angel and the body of a high-class whore,” or are characterized almost solely by breast size.

There’s some heartfelt melodrama at play, with most of the story’s life lessons delivered with a wink. Aylott’s menfolk may be jerks in some ways, but the playfulness and humor in their depictions will be plenty for some readers, too much for others.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

Author's Current Residence
St. Louis, Missouri
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