“Trouble Comes Back” in different disguises in the third installment of the life of Jason Keltner, a young electronic musician living in Southern California.
Keltner spends little time behind his keyboards and computers this go-round, as an attempt to rescue his roommates mother from an abusive boyfriend leads him on an expedition to a crack house, where they discover and help rescue former rock star Dwight Cooper, a.k.a. Uncle Trouble. Cooper returns the favor by hiring them to babysit his daughter and protect her from his ex-wife, now working as a model in New York City.
Author Keith Snyder has a way of capturing contemporary speech that’s free-flowing and sometimes confusing or obscure. His characters trade barbs and jokes, sometimes in the same paragraph, they fight and make up or not. A story arc may go in one direction, hang a right turn at the last moment and head into uncharted territory.
While the fun is more muted this time around, when it shows up it’s all the more amusing from trenchant observations about New York (my favorite: “Brooklyn is like Manhattan only shorter.”) to the inclusion of a bedtime story “The Little Clam that Liked to Dance Even Though It Had No Feet” and “The Wonky,” a short-short story that plays a pivotal role in the conclusion. This is a book where the pain is real, the regret palatable and the consequences of even the best of intentions sometimes fatal.