Harry and the Bikini Bandits by Basil Heatter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is one of those books that I first read back in junior-high that is every bit as fun as I remembered, even if there are no bikini bandits. Ok, maybe one. The form here is "my summer vacation" and it's a coming of age tale as seventeen-year-old Clay hunts down his uncle Harry and sails to the Bahamas with him aboard Harry's worn out old ketch Jezebel. That's the first third of the novel, which is a picaresque. And then, during the middle third, it turns into a heist novel as they plan and successfully rob a casino in Nassau. The final third completes Clay's coming of age in the usual ways: besting his uncle and finally losing his virginity. The end has a sweet twist that I won't spoil. The narration is first-person and the style is a cool mix of genre and literary quality free-indirect prose filtered through Clay's coming-of-age point of view. Good stuff!
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