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Michael Kardos’s first novel, THE THREE-DAY AFFAIR (Mysterious Press, $24), is so disturbing it makes you wonder what he might have in mind for his second book. The plot is original, if distinctly bizarre: three friends who met at Princeton have left their wives at home and are headed for a golf club to celebrate their annual reunion when one of them — the self-made millionaire who lost his fortune in the dot-com crash — impulsively robs a convenience store and kidnaps the cashier. In a panic, Will Walker, who narrates this nightmare, drives them all to the independent recording studio where he works. What follows is a carefully calibrated study of how even the most highly evolved members of our species can become feral under pressure. (“I was an animal in the woods and I was making this other animal go away” is how one of them describes it.) Surprisingly, the violence proves less shocking than the purely vindictive acts of cruelty even the best of friends can inflict on one another.
Monologue topics: Thanksgiving, illness, Disneyland, the Romneys, Black Friday, holiday misery, bitterness, attitude.