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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
In Zero by Al Schnupp, Maxie believes her husband Zero should have bigger dreams than driving Pa Zero's Muck Truck for a living. Besides, if they had more money she could eat in top-knife restaurants and resuscitate herself in spas. Maxie convinces Zero to run for Icon in Weasledork, the capital of Groad. The current Icon, Rodney Ricochet, plans to retire after the end of his current term in office to spend his time building sandcastles on the beach. Before they can execute their plans, they must commit the most immoral crime to fund their mission. With Horace Hickbourne, the slick and dynamic Chairman of the Ratchet Party, by their side, Maxie and Zero begin their campaign to revitalize Groad. Although Horace is known as a miracle worker, Zero and Maxie prove difficult candidates to transform. The trio must resort to every scam, cover-up, and trick to convince the people of Groad that Zero will be a first-rate Icon. With Inspector Oodles and his assistant Minnie determined to expose Zero for his immoral crime, will Maxie and Zero ever realize their dream of Icon?
Zero by Al Schnupp is such an inventive and unique novel filled with laugh-out-loud comedic moments from the outset. The characters are extremely memorable and their dialogue highlights their personalities perfectly. The author can make even a death and funeral scene hysterical with phrases, 'What caused him to fizzle?' I also loved the description of the sculptor by Maxie as a 'corpse fondler'. The entire novel is fast-paced, sharp, and witty. There is also a great examination of human behavior in many of the characters, such as arrogance, paranoia, immorality, and bombastic behavior. Zero was totally delusional and his misplaced sense of self was made even worse with encouragement from the shrewd Horace. There was no end to the embarrassment as the trio fell from one calamity to the next. Zero's manifesto to lock up The Bogeyman, manufacture more erasers, and outlaw boorish behavior was fantastic. I loved the ingenious ways Inspector Oodles used to try to trap Zero, they were so funny and inventive. There is a very serious and worrying message within the plot also. How one fool with no political background can manipulate and deceive their way into power. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves dry humor and political satire.