Updated: Jul 10
“I want you to kill my mother.”
I haven’t seen Throw Momma From the Train in quite some time, but I’m pretty sure those are the words Danny Devito says to Billy Crystal. If you haven’t seen the movie, you need to change that. It’s hilarious. And Bang Up by Jeff Strand had a similar start:
“You want to pay me to sleep with your wife?”
And so begins the relationship between Kirk and Ralph, the two main characters of Bang Up, who meet randomly while Kirk is eating pancakes in a restaurant.
Both Throw Mama From the Train and Bang Up deal with serious issues (murder & infidelity), and both handle them in a fantastically humorous manner. If you love Strand’s horror work, or even his YA stuff, please be aware that Bang Up is neither. The only horror is the painfully awkward situations the characters find themselves in based on their poor decisions.
No, this is not a weird variation on Indecent proposal. You see, Ralph discovers that his wife Julie has been visiting online dating sites and he believes that she wants to cheat on him. He’s paying Kirk—a total stranger—not to just have sex with Julie, but to have BAD sex with her.
Here’s his plan: Since Kirk is Julie’s type, Ralph wants him to attend Julie’s book club meeting, seduce her with his good looks and book knowledge, and then take her home and have BAD sex with her. Which according to Ralph, BAD sex includes pinching nipples too hard, cumming in her hair, and leaving her orgasm-less... Yeah, that does sound pretty miserable--guys, take note ;)
Here’s Ralph's logic: If Julie's fantasy man performs that poorly, then Julie will give up trying to cheat on Ralph behind his back…
Oh, the best laid plans of mice and men.
Without a doubt the highlight of this novel is Strand’s dialogue. It flows so effortlessly; even during a threesome scene, the lines exchanged between characters had me laughing out loud.
I always watch comedy movies, but I have never read a full-on comedy novel before. As a result, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with Bang Up. But something Julie said at one point stuck with me:
“…This wasn’t meant to be realistic. It was a fantasy.“
That’s an important thing to keep in mind. The male characters are completely ridiculous, and you need to suspend disbelief at the things they say and the insane predicaments they find themselves in. For example: Kirk fails at incompetently sexing up Julie. In fact, he gives it to her pretty damn good—yep, this is definitely an NC-17 read. When Ralph finds that out, he’s pissed off and decides to hire another stranger to kill Kirk. I don’t want to spoil too much. But the would-be assassination attempt turns into a threesome at one point.
The characters are not as well development as in Blister, but it’s a great fantasy sex comedy! Plus, it’s totally hardcore! Lol. I really liked that juxtaposition. When Strand writes a sex act, it can start to heat you up a bit. But then he messes with you, forcing you to laugh while being turned on. Like when Kirk is imagining how to incorrectly go down on Julie so he’ll hate him. He imagines acting like cookie monster and going Nom Nom Nom on her naughty bits. A true master of humor!
Since I have no official rating system yet, and this being a sex novel, I suggest the boner metric! 4 out of 5 boners for Bang Up by Jeff Strand. I have officially been turned on…to a new genre, that is! Check out the novel and let me know which parts turned you on the most.