Two billionaire playboys engage in a high stakes pissing contest while the women in their lives attempt damage control. A British dominatrix prepares to open an operation in the States featuring cross-dresing maids. A Russian-born actress seeks to rehabilitate her career after she is the subject of a malicious bestiality-based meme. A gutshot cop specializing in catching child predators blurs the professional lines while coping with an emasculating home life.
These stories and more combine and intersect in startling and complex ways, through related themes, funny coincidences and an overarching narrative plan expertly orchestrated by Persinger’s skillful hand. What seems at first to be a typical “battle of the sexes” setup proves to be anything but, as these characters and their stories are much too complicated to be placed in stereotypical boxes, with perhaps the exception of a character nicknamed “The Raging Hard-On.” What they all share is a struggle for the will to power, grasping, clutching, and downright annihilating everything in their path to achieve it.
It’s impossible to overstate how funny Tools of the Trade is. It belongs to the Tom Robbins tradition of absurdist farce. A character is described as “either a prick or a putz, depending on your ethnicity” and a pair of sisters losing a tennis match look like “a couple of blind girls who just stepped on a beehive.”
Needless to say, this humor is not exactly politically correct. A society wife’s choice of charitable cause turns out to be one of the best jokes in the book. Though admittedly, the constant quipping can become a little tedious over time.
Persinger also succeeds with quick, punchy pacing via short chapters that shift the point of view among most of the major players, creating the effect of a mad dash to the finish. It is particularly evident in the final chapters as the stakes are continually ratcheting up while some characters lay out their master plans and others are left scrambling, it’s an almost breathless read.
Set among the elite of New York City society, Tools of the Trade is a hysterical anti-morality play where the principal actors are ruled by their rapacious appetites and only the strong survive.
~Lisa Butts for IndieReader