Louis K. Lowy
Die Laughing

Review Brought to you by OBS staff member Annabell Cadiz

Synopsis: Beamed aboard an alien spaceship, Las Vegas funny man Sam E. Lakeside is forced to participate in a plan to rob the earth of its oil. When the shape-shifting aliens – who take on the form of Trixie Norton, Ed Sullivan and others they’ve seen on TV – and their leader, a power-hungry mobster, murder Sam’s best friend and manager, Sam vows revenge. 

He recruits a blacklisted comic book writer and the mobster’s girlfriend, and drags them cross-country to thwart the aliens. Their journey takes them to New York City and The Steve Allen Show, where the key to the alien’s conquest lies.

Sam, embroiled in an escalating tangle of violence, love, and lies, is forced to choose between what he wants most in the world — to be a star — or the planet’s survival.

Review: In the time when Hula Hoops where all the rage, poodle skirts were the latest trend, and where back seat bingo (necking in a car) was considered a scandal, Die Laughing transports it’s readers smack dab into the 1950s.

Sam E. Lakeside is a crude, upcoming comic, whose as fast with his jokes as he is with his women. Enjoying his bachelorhood and the open road his career demands, Sam E. has no intention of settling back. All that changes the night second rate mobster, Francis and his easy on the eyes girl Cricket, comes into his life. See, Sam E. has been caught getting to close to Francis boss’s girl and now he has to pay. Just as Sam E. thinks it’s all over and its time to bite the dust, he is sucked into an eerie green mist. To his surprise and complete disbelief, Sam E. is transported to a spaceship along with Francis and Cricket. Francis informs Sam he will be helping his new alien friends attain all the oil on the Earth no matter the cost to humanity. Sam, always ready with a punch line and never one to take threats on his life sitting back, decides he would rather jump ship than be any alien’s play thing.

Flying saucers and 50s slang, made Die Laughing a unique and lively read. I was all too happy to travel to an era I love! The clothes, the music, and the food heighten the experience as you read. I could tell the author did a lot of research and worked really hard on making sure the readers would get a good feel for Sam E’s world.

Sam E. is not exactly the prince charming who rides in on a white horse. More prone to walking with a strut and a cigarette pierced between his lips, Sam E. is the last person you would expect would help save the world. He was a hard character to get use to. I’m sure men will appreciate his crude humor more than I was able to. But that made it difficult for me to care about him. He did manage to grow on me like an annoying best friend of an older sibling but I still wanted to rap my knuckles against his face a few times!

Cricket was ballsy, tough, and has way more guts than I do. Sexuality pours off of her skin even though her clothes but don’t let that fool you, the girl may be sexy but will slice you to seven ways from Sunday if you step to her the wrong way. Lee was the nerdy, slightly cynical, dreamer. I liked him instantly because he was a writer and because he didn’t believe Cricket and Sam E so easily.

The pacing to the novel ran pretty smoothly, it dragged a bit in certain places but managed to pick up. The jokes where not my taste so I didn’t really find them funny but I am not a fan of the type of humor presented in the book. I didn’t really care for the sexual innuendos or the fact that Cricket was presented as much of a slut as much as Sam E was a man whore. But the characters do redeem themselves in the story and grow which I appreciated.

Die Laughing is a sci-fi adventure with a razor sharp mix of dark human emotions, punch lines on practically every page, and a tale as clever as the characters created.

Grab yourself a root beer float, snuggle up in your favorite place, and jump in!

Ya’ dig? *wink*

To find out more about the author and his work, check out his blog here.