Florida Hustle
Penguin Random House

Florida Hustle

$19.95

Set in 1982, Wilborn’s diverting debut novel finds musician Alex Donnelly increasingly concerned about the mental state of his 17-year-old son, Michael, an aspiring filmmaker. Six months earlier, Michael discovered the body of his mother, her wrists slit, in a bathroom at the family’s Palm Beach, Fla., mansion.

Michael’s obsession with gory slasher movies particularly worries Alex. Michael views his latest horror film idea as the perfect vehicle for a scream queen he has the hots for, Dawn Karston. But when Dawn gets his cartoonish storyboards, along with a note reading “THIS IS HOW YOU SHOULD REALLY DIE!,” she interprets it as a threat and backs out of a movie shoot near the Donnellys’ house.

To avoid going into a residential therapeutic facility, Michael runs away from home and hooks up with an aging con man and his on-the-make companion. The tone shifts from the mildly farcical to the creepy and sad as Michael gets closer to his object of desire. This one’s for fans of Wilborn’s story collection, Cigar City: Tales from a 1980s Creative GhettoAgent: Chris Calhoun, Chris Calhoun Agency.

Author: Paul WilbornISBN: 9781940300481Paperback: 312 pages.Size: 6" x 9" x 0.7"