Categories: Fiction, Humor/Satire
GREEZERS: A Tale of Establishment’s Decline and Fall
Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb
Greezers is Simon Plaster’s latest and perhaps greatest satirical novel featuring the memorable character, Henrietta, named after a town in Oklahoma, Henryetta, who, previous to Greezers, had the desire to advance her journalistic career and one day earn a Pulitzer Prize. In Greezers, a tale of a chain of lube shops, fast food, and succession, Henrietta seeks a change in her life, and gets a job as an assistant to Leroy (“Lero”) O’Rourke, a private detective. She thinks that as a journalist, she has done a fair amount of deductive reasoning, and that will stand her in good steed in her new career. But what lengths will she go to in her pursuit of truth, justice, and the American way? Let’s just say that in Greezers, chock-full of popular culture and musical references that fans of the series have come to expect, Simon Plaster has Henrietta putting her “assets” out on stage for all to see, even having her briefly working at a strip club in her efforts to surveil a subject, Harry DeGrasso, who is a potential heir of the Trinita Coal Oil & Tar Company. Purchase Here.
You may wonder why Greezers is called Greezers. It’s because the book is about the plots and schemes of potential successors to the Trinita Coal Oil & Tar Company’s chain of Greezers lube shops to one day take over control of same from the Company’s elderly 95-year-old matriarch, Nanette GeGrasso. While her son, Charles, being the Executive Vice-President of the Company, looks like he would be the obvious choice as the heir apparent, he has fallen out of favor with his mother, and he has familial rivals who also would like to dethrone Nanette, like her nephew, Joe DeGrasso, who is also an Executive Vice-President. Nanette acts scornfully towards all of the potential successors, with the exception of Harry, who is her grandson and a junior executive in the Company, under both the watchful eye and thumb of Charles. Charles, however, does not think that Harry is trained fully enough or is nearly as experienced and worthy as he is, and he believes that he, rather than Harry, should be the one to take over after his mother dies.
It’s also called Greezers because another one of the potential successors, Hunter DeGrasso, “an entrepreneurial lawyer” and the son of Joe, has the idea that combining the lube business with a fast food operation would make great business sense and would increase the Company’s profits significantly. The particular sort of fast food is salo, or pork fat back strips, also known as “Lardo di Colonnata,” and he engages in a joint venture with a group of crooked Ukrainians who want to introduce the United States to the product. Hunter is aware that Aunt Nanette loved eating Lardo di Colonnata when she was younger. However, she is not in favor of the thinly sliced pork being served deep fried, even though her brother-turned-monk, Brother Bernardo, is on board with the proposition.
Henrietta finds herself getting more and more embroiled in unraveling the complex web of plots and schemes of the various potential heirs. She ultimately realizes that her employer, O’Rourke, has his own dog in the fight, as he has been hired by Charles DeGrasso, through one of the men working for him, Evans. O’Rourke also sees his involvement with the case as a way for him to become more famous, and to perhaps help propel him politically, possibly all the way up to the White House. Charles would like nothing more than for O’Rourke to find out information about Harry that would cause his mother, Nanette, to drop Harry from consideration as her successor, and to favor him, instead.
Simon Plaster’s humorous characters, satirical humor, and references to popular culture and song lyrics are some of the hallmarks of his engrossing series featuring Henrietta, and his latest novel, Greezers is no exception. For instance, Plaster quotes lyrics from songs like “You Shook Me All Night Long,” by AC/DC (though he attributes it to Steven Tyler), from “Somebody Got Murdered,” and “I’m So Bored With the USA,” by The Clash, and “Paradise City,” by Guns ‘N’ Roses. He even references Shakespeare’s play, MacBeth, which also deals, in part, with the theme of who is fittest to be a successor, comparing Charles to his character, Banquo, a man who “shall get kings,” but is not destined to be one.
Can the heroine of Greezers, Henrietta, successfully switch careers and go from being a reporter to being a P.I.? Which of the potential successors to the Trinita Coal Oil & Tar Company and the Greezers chain of lube shops/fast food outlets will inherit Nanette DeGrasso’s throne?
Without giving away any other spoilers, I’ll just add that Greezers is an entertaining satiric romp that I’d highly recommend. It, like all of author Simon Plaster’s books, can be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone. Reading the others in the Henrietta series will provide readers with useful background information about her and other characters, though, and they are all fun reads that are well worth checking out! Stay safe & healthy, now, as always!