Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: The Big Comb Over by J.P. Rieger @GoddessFish


J.P. Rieger

GENRE: Family Satire, Farce, Magical Realism


Three nephews and three eccentric uncles.


It’s 2050 and Robbie Elders has all but forgotten about his oddball, religious fanatic uncle, tim tim. He’s taken up the latest fad, genealogical research based solely on DNA. But Robbie’s “inconclusive” DNA results are unsettling. He crashes back to his childhood, back to his world of comic books and tim tim.

I opt for posh and London” declares Lady Florence Stour. It’s 2019 and time for a Royal Wedding. Robbie’s uncle, Stef, is engaged to Lady Florence, a distant member of the British royal family. Stef’s Baltimore clan have been invited, but Robbie’s mom and dad can’t attend. They’ve entrusted Robbie and big brother, Doyle, to their mom’s two eccentric brothers, uncles Roy and Roland. Roy, a weathered waterman with a severe Baltimore accent, lives for Maryland blue crabs. Roland, a mildly hypochondriacal actor, lives to survive the Karens he unavoidably encounters. And then there’s Desales, Roy’s smart aleck, teenage son. He lives to prank. They’ve descended upon London. What could possibly go wrong?

Meanwhile, tim tim has been coaching Robbie on “the mission.” A silly religious fantasy according to Robbie’s atheist parents and the therapists. Or perhaps not? Things are not always as they appear in The Big Comb Over.


Roland looked at the bottle in awe. “Fletcher’s Dry Shampoo – Hint of Almond.” He looked over the directions and ingredients on the back. “Wow! It’s gluten-free and approved by PETA, too!” He handed back the bottle, gingerly, as though it were an egg.

Yes! So, I’ll get things started, today, but when you use it, remember to follow the instructions carefully. You have to shake the thing like a bastard.”

He pulled off the top cap and shook the bottle frantically.

Okay, shield your eyes with your hands, Roland.”

Morris began carefully spraying the bald spot. The bottle produced several quick spurts—the initial “targeting” move. He then pulled the can back several inches and sprayed in a wider arc, slowly filling in the surrounding areas. Excess brown powder fell gently onto the cape; iron filings mixed with cinnamon.

Yes, there we go! Success! Let me give it a brush-through and a good zhuzh!”

Morris began to carefully run the boar’s hairbrush through the mixture of hair and powdered shampoo. There was that one tricky area, so he gave it another quick blast with the aerosol can. He completed brushing and found the most optimal place for the all-important part. Something natural. Avoiding the comb-over effect was difficult. Balance . . . balance . . .

He then gave Roland’s hair a quick blast with the hair dryer. Not too much, as there was not much to dry. The shampoo had absorbed most of the hemp oil treatment. He put the dryer aside and gave Roland’s hair a two-handed, final zhuzh. He spun the chair around, dramatically, and placed a hand mirror in front of Roland’s face so that he could check out the back.

Looky loo, Sir Roland! Nary a hint of . . . deficiency!”

Roland looked with disbelief. He no longer had that bald spot! It was gone!

Oh dear Lord, Morris! You are a genius! Look at this! Michelangelo!” He handed back the mirror, stunned.

Thank you, thank you!” Morris took a quick bow and rapidly turned the chair back around, causing Roland some dizziness. “Now, let me hit you with a finishing spray to hold everything in place!”

He dramatically removed the top of the hairspray aerosol and shook the can furiously. He sprayed the mist in a near random fashion near the scalp and then away from the scalp and then back toward and quickly away again—a symphony conductor of a twelve-tone sound poem.

He spun Roland around again and thrust the mirror before his face. “What do you think?!”

Yes, yes, Morris, this is perfect! This is what I’ve been waiting for . . . dreaming about!”

Interview with J.P. Rieger

What are four things you can’t live without?

1) My spouse is number one. She’s my Everything. 2) Books, in general. 3) My Rickenbacker bass guitar. 4) Hope.

What is your favorite television show?

Severance. What a clever, crazy piece of sci fi. I’m looking forward to the next season. As a young guy I also loved The Prisoner series starring Patrick McGoohan. There are many similarities between the two.

If you could be any character, from any literary work, who would you choose to be? Why?

This is a tough question. Most fiction I read features a flawed hero. I’ve got that covered already. Perhaps Sherlock Holmes: loyal, brilliant, motivated towards good and not a bad violinist.

What have you got coming soon for us to look out for?

I recently completed my fourth novel, Sunscreen Shower. Sunscreen Shower is a police farce featuring Baltimore Police Detective Kev Dixit. Dixit was featured in my second novel, Clonk! Sunscreen Shower is not, strictly speaking, a sequel, but it does include many of the Clonk! characters.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?

I’m a huge fan of Charles Willeford, one of the kings of pulp detective fiction. His four Hoke Mosely novels are completely gripping and darkly hilarious. I also love Kurt Vonnegut, the Mark Twain of the twentieth century.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

J. Paul (J.P.) Rieger is a born and bred Baltimorean and mostly retired Maryland attorney. As such, he’s well acquainted with the quirkiness and charm of Baltimore’s unique citizens. He’s author of Clonk!, a police farce set in Baltimore and published in 2023 by Apprentice House Press (Loyola University-Baltimore). He’s also author of The Case Files of Roderick Misely, Consultant, a mystery novel featuring a wannabe lawyer anti-hero. The Big Comb Over, a slipstream comedy of manners featuring three nephews and their three eccentric uncles, is Paul’s third novel. Paul is married and lives in Towson, Maryland.

Visit J.P. Rieger on his Website


$25 Amazon/BN GC 

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J Paul Rieger said...

Thanks for having me over today!

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting today!

Marcy Meyer said...

The blurb and excerpt sound good.

J Paul Rieger said...

Thank you Marcy! For those interested, it is available on Book Sirens.

Rita Wray said...

Great excerpt, thank you.

J Paul Rieger said...

Thanks, Rita!

Sherry said...

This sounds like a good book and I really like the cover.

J Paul Rieger said...

Thanks Sherry!