"When I read the comparisons to Barry’s and Hiaasen’s work, I was incredulous, but Sun City is absolutely dear, and completely hilarious. It’s not just funny. The whacked-out characters are all so well written and developed that this is more than just a comedy. The changes of Irving and Cal from immature boy and lonesome old man to maturity and fulfilment respectively is so subtly done. Yes, there is mega potent government pot, the CIA – loved the scene with LBJ – feral hogs, and a cast of secondary characters that are so crazy they made me laugh out loud, but they only enhance the charm of the big heart at the center of the story.
This is a really sweet, great book and it is done so well. I’m going to give it out for Christmas presents this year. What better gift than one of laughter, right?"
Of the many authors I enjoy, only Dave Barry and Carl Hiaasen have consistently written books that make me laugh out loud. With his new book, Matthew Minson has given me high hopes that I will be able to add a third name to that short list. In a single book, his humor ranges from very dry to slapstick. He has a knack for seeing the ridiculous in everyday situations, as well as for giving those situations just enough of a nudge to make them absolutely outrageous. Woven through the fast-moving plot are unique characters with big hearts. I hope someone makes a movie out of this, and I very much look forward to Mr. Minson's next work of fiction!
"...a fast-paced farce... not your typical story about a retirement community..." Opera News/Daily Advent
Old Doesn't Mean Dead
Cal Yarborough was a farmer. A widower and old, he was living alone on his farm. While he was in the hospital, his children used their power-of-attorney to sell the farm and settle him at Sun City, a Central Texas retirement community.
“Sun City: A Hilariously Addictive Story of Rebellion,” by Matthew Minson, opens with Yarborough’s arrival at Sun City. His dismay at losing his farm is compounded when he learns he cannot even put in a vegetable garden. The community board has banned them.
Most of Sun City’s residents resent the board. It is made up of retired flag officers, appointed by the developers. The board enjoys throwing their weight around committing petty tyrannies. The residents cannot replace the board because the corporate bylaws allow the corporation to appoint the board until 97 percent of the properties are sold. The Corporation plans to expand Sun City before that happens. Nor can residents sell without incurring a big loss. Buyers prefer new properties.
The only solution is to buy out the unsold properties and the surrounding land. That requires serious money.
A cadre of residents, including Cal, a former CIA agent turned counterculture warrior, a mob boss in hiding, a Wiccan priestess, and a salacious chef named Betty Crocker hatch a scheme to get that serious money. Wild Bill, the ex-CIA agent has seed for government-engineered pot, “borrowed” after a failed plan to overthrow Castro shut down. It produces super-pot. He now has someone to grow this crop, and someone to market it. They plan to use the money to buy out the corporation.
What follows is a wacky adventure in which the five begin a bootlegging scheme. Along the way they help a local restaurateur suffering from cancer, look out for the single mother who manages the community, and play matchmaker between the only two teens in the community (an awkward teenage boy and the teenage granddaughter of Betty Crocker). They do all this while evading detection by the local law (a deputy sheriff with an unfortunate last name), outwitting the community board, and outfoxing the corrupt developers.
Sun City is not your typical novel about a retirement community. It is a fast-paced farce, which is not meant to be taken too seriously. It is filled with literary Easter eggs, adding entertainment when they become apparent. It depicts a struggle between individual freedom and social control relevant to today’s America.
“Sun City: A Hilariously Addictive Story of Rebellion,” by Matthew Minson, TLOED Inc., 2022, 305 pages, $14.95 (Paperback), $5.99 (Ebook)
This review was written by Mark Lardas who writes at Ricochet as Seawriter. Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, historian, and model-maker, lives in League City, TX. His website is marklardas.com.
Sun City - 2022 BIBA® Humor/Satire Winner!
A Heart-Warming Recipe for Fun
Take one old farmer, a salacious genius chef named Betty Crocker, a former CIA operative turned counterculture warrior, a mob boss in witness protection, and a 14-year-old boy and girl who just want to make movies. Add a coven of clog-dancing Wiccans, a corrupt corporation, and a pack of feral hogs. Mix in a cache of hyper-engineered government pot seed and bake to perfection in the Texas heat. What do you get? A delectable dish called Sun City, a positively addictive story of love and rebellion that proves— any time is the right time to come of age.
When a group of eccentric vibrant seniors in a master-planned community are compelled to oppose a corrupt corporation that owns their properties, a widowed old farmer, a genius salacious chef whose name is Betty Crocker, a former CIA operative turned counterculture warrior, and a mob boss in witness protection decide to regain control of their community by making enough money to take over the big business entity. Adopting the philosophy that “Behind every great fortune is a crime” the ex-CIA hippie reveals that he is sitting on a supply of Cold War era government engineered pot seed, left over from a failed attempt to overthrow Castro, and points out that between them, they have exactly the skill sets necessary to accomplish their goal. Along the way, they “adopt” the Sun City property manager, a noble, struggling single mother, and her awkward 14-year-old son who, along with Betty’s feisty granddaughter, wants to make a documentary about Sun City. Now it’s a juggling act between helping the kids and hiding the nouveau bootlegging operation from an oppressive resident’s board and a Sheriff’s Deputy with a most unfortunate last name. Complicating this titanic struggle between individual freedom and social control is a world populated by clog dancing Wiccans, feral hogs, and a pesky DHS drone. In the end, however, they all wind up with something far more valuable than money, a sense of community and the ability to help the kids who have no idea what is happening.
This is Sun City, the perfect place to find yourself.