One Christmas Eve, Whale Harbor is visited by a man who thinks he’s Jesus and claims to be looking for a game of poker. But, as usual, things are not quite what they seem. Having some version of the Lord in town for his birthday creates a strange effect on the locals: unlikely couples are breaking up and making up and making out; a luxury mobile home that belonged to an elderly couple from New Jersey (until they disappeared after a run-in with “the Lord”) is won by a down-on-his-luck gambler in an unbelievable hand of poker; the area’s most well-known and long-forgotten tourist attraction is rising up from a hole in the ground; and a gun no one has used in years is suddenly in hot demand. In the steamy climes of southern Florida, you take your miracles where you can get them—and if that means being led to salvation by a schizophrenic with a rap sheet, so be it.
In the rollicking tradition of Carl Hiaasen’s Tourist Season, with the heart of Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon, and peopled by the kind of colorful characters who would be quite at home in any Tom Robbins novel, N. M. Kelby’s Whale Season is a sharp and funny novel made up of equal parts comic adventure and serial-killer inspired mayhem.