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Smoke Mass Market Paperback – Oct 1 1996


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press (Oct. 1 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044640344X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446403443
  • Product Dimensions: 2.7 x 12.6 x 20 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #902,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Freddie Urban Noone, contrary to his initials, is not having fun. During a normal business day, which for Freddie is robbery/burglary, he runs afoul of two young research doctors. They capture Freddie, and decide he will be their human volunteer for an experiment they are conducting for a tobacco research institute. The experiment inadvertently succeeds beyond any expectation, and Freddie is invisible-and escapes. Everyone: doctors, tobacco industry, and crooked cops want Freddie for all the wrong reasons.
The author has given careful thought to all aspects of being invisible and uses them well. In a nutshell, invisibility has few advantages and many woes for the hapless victim. Freddie must either be naked (including shoeless) or done up like a scarecrow with a fright mask, gloves, and every inch of him covered. He must modestly distance himself from the public for at least two hours after dining while his food travels down his intestinal track. Freddy fortunately has a sunny disposition and a great deal of patience. He also is blessed with a cheery, beautiful, slightly skewed girlfriend who reminded me of Elaine in Seinfeld without the neuroses.
The book has many humorous moments and some excellent insights, but it seems erratically paced. There are slow moments and repetitious action. I felt the author got a little weary of his own edifice. The ending was so abrupt; I actually looked for a few more pages. I don't know if it was Mr. Westlake's intent, but the last scene seems melancholy and wistful. The farce turned into a melodrama without a connecting passage. I was left vaguely unsatisfied.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
When Freddie Noon is caught in the act of burgling a research laboratory by a couple of the doctors who work there, he is persuaded to act as guinea pig to test the experimental drug they are working on, rather than get sent to prison. The drug was supposed to help combat skin cancer by eliminating skin pigment, unfortunately when given to Freddie it not only eliminated Freddie's skin, but also the rest of him, rendering him invisible. An invisible burglar, the possibilities are endless. But so are the problems. Freddie and his girlfriend, Peg, are chased by various people who all have the same idea, harnessing his invisibility for their own evil plans.
Thanks to Westlake's great ability with putting together great caper stories, the subplots are amusing and quite entertaining, but when you get to the end you get the feeling that the potential has not been reached. Although not an uproariously funny book, its tone is light and the humour is constant, at times subtle and usually quite clever.
If it's light reading you're after and prefer entertainment over finding a deeper meaning of life, I think you'll enjoy this book. A good example of the humour of Donald Westlake can be found in a surgeon general's warning on the inside front flap stating that "Reading Donald E. Westlake may lead to shortness of breath, prolonged chortles, outbreaks of hysterical laughter, and sudden, drop-dead surprises."
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
After all the hype about Donald E. Westlake, I decided to read one of his novels to get in on the fun. Maybe SMOKE is an exception to his usually good romps, but I was really bored throughout the novel. With the exception of a couple of characters, the rest of them were stereotyped, formless and boring. So much could have been done with this great plot. Oh, well.... I won't give up on Mr. Westlake. His Dortmunder novels get great press, so guess I'll give one of those a try. I WANT to like his writing. So many people do! Help me out, folks. Am I missing something?!!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A funny, original, comic romp about a thief who inadvertently becomes invisible, and his adventures, eluding assorted bad guys out to exploit him.
Im not sure why there are so many faintly negative reviews; Westlake's writing is sharp, and the humor is excellent. Great characters, too!
My only complaint: I wanted more of Freddie and Peg's adventures. Let's hope Mr. Westlake does a sequel!
PS If you dont like science fiction, dont be put off by the invisible man stuff; this is a comic crime novel!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Despite some of the only fair reviews quoted below, I feel this is an excelelnt novel. An invisible man (who's a thief), on the run from tobacco companies, various hoodlums, and the scientists who created him, makes for a fun romp.
Westlake's use of humor is excellent, and you really ENJOY reading about these characters.
My only complaint is that it was too short! I wanted more of Freddie and Peg's adventures.
Here's hoping for a sequel!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have loved every other book of his that I have read. Smoke, however, is a pretty apt analogy for the substance of this one. Sure there are a few chuckles, but frankly I didn't care enough about any of the people in this story to find out how it turns out. The tobacco industry machinations get pretty boring. Great potential, but a dud.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The idea and concept of this book is just fantastic.. "An Invisible Thief, running around New York"... What a Fantastic Idea!. I was expecting big laughs and a great plot. What I got was a very slow read with a gutless plot. The laughs where few, far between and not really funny. This book just did not go anywhere, it could have been done so much better and with much more punch. The main character was pretty good, and some of the supporting characters (especially Jersey Josh) carried the book along, but the underlying plot of the tobacco industry was poorly done. I was disappointed, but this book is for you if you want a simple, mind numbing read.
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