Born Slippy: A Novel 2021-02-19T14:07:25+00:00
Born Slippy: A Novel

A literary thriller that wanders the globe.

Published by Repeater Books/Penguin Random House on January 14, 2020.

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About the Book

A provocative, globe-trotting, time-shifting novel about the seductions of — and resistance to — toxic masculinity.

“Frank knew as well as anyone how stories start and how they end. This fiery mess, or something like it, was bound to happen. He had been expecting it for years.”

Frank Baltimore is a bit of a loser, struggling by as a carpenter and handyman in rural New England when he gets his big break, building a mansion in the executive suburbs of Hartford. One of his workers is a charismatic eighteen-year-old kid from Liverpool, Dmitry, in the US in the summer before university. Dmitry is a charming sociopath, who develops a fascination with his autodidactic philosopher boss, perhaps thinking that, if he could figure out what made Frank tick, he could be less of a pig. Dmitry heads to Asia and makes a neo-imperialist fortune, with a trail of corpses in his wake. When Dmitry’s office building in Taipei explodes in an enormous fireball, Frank heads to Asia, falls in love with Dmitry’s wife, and things go from bad to worse.

Combining the best elements of literary thriller, noir and political satire, Born Slippy is a darkly comic and honest meditation on modern life under global capitalism.

You can read excerpts of Born Slippy in Guernica, The Magic of Wor(l)ds, Jessica Belmont, Storeybook Reviews, A Knight’s Reads, and Reader Dad.

Series: Fiction
Genres: Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Repeater Books
Publication Year: January 14, 2020
ISBN: 9781912248643
List Price: $18.99
eBook Price: $18.99
Audiobook Price: $17.47
“An instant, finely wrought story of friendship, ingenuity, and blithe evil. Lutz has the seven deadly sins nailed and rethought for our 2020 world. You’ve got to dig this book!”
“Born Slippy: A whip-smart, whirlwind novel of noir and adventure, humor and horror, cynicism and romance. Lutz’s sterling prose and love of literature light up this unique page-turner about the friendship between a man who would be good and the amoral, magnetic narcissist who comes to dominate his life story.”
"Dmitry Heald is is a brilliant character, brilliantly written, and thank God a construction in language, but therein lies yet another muscular pursuit or meditation in this novel, the role of literature in these characters’ lives, its efficacy—perhaps treacherous—to drive their ambitions, to install them with scene-stealing rationales, and perhaps to leave them unchecked by any greater moral scrutiny."
– Michelle Latiolais, author of She
"As much as I admire Lutz’s chronicles and essays (on early 1900s neurasthenia; on those who dedicate their lives to doing nothing; a cultural history of crying), it feels as if the novel may be the form that allows him to deploy his wisdom most expansively. Born Slippy is rich in place, character, incident, but at the same time turns out to be the fullest expression of Lutz’s (canny; wry; informed) voice."
“What a pleasure, to sink under the comedic spell of Born Slippy, Tom Lutz’s debut novel! The perfect book for a dreary day — a gleeful, twisty tale of an unlikely friendship. I’d put it on the shelf between Tom Robbins and Martin Amis, if a place can be cleared there.”
“The kind of novel a globetrotting Graham Greene might have written had he lived to trot around our contempo, gone-to-hell globe — now divided into neo-imperialist sociopathic zillionaires, and the rest of us. Born Slippy is smart, dark, funny and, best of all, what used to be called a real page-turner. You’ll love this book.”
“A highly literary and always engaging twenty-first-century noir. Born Slippy confronts contemporary questions about the relativity of evil that no one can dodge.”
“Tom Lutz comes out fast, deep and fully equipped with a mesmerizing debut novel. Every page twists and turns with incredible developments, literary prowess, daring routes and mind-stretching adventures. A task and crew of characters few can take head on and ride all the way to the last thrilling pages. Slippy won’t slip by the prizes. Bravissimo for T. Lutz.”
“A smart and propulsive wild ride from the genteel mansions of Hartford, Connecticut to the more louche corners of Asia. Lutz’s debut is a technicolor noir, a smart, literary and literate thriller — like the love child of Elmore Leonard and Graeme Greene. Original and deft and not to be missed.”
“In the spirit of Kurt Vonnegut, Tom Lutz has given us a shrewd, mordant tale of the male ego sucked into the modern maelstrom. Frank is a decent man but Dmitri is the devil on his shoulder, seducing him with all the messy pleasures of financial manipulation and global debauchery. Dmitri takes Frank on a wild ride from his good intentions to his true intentions, and then forces him to confront the consequences of his new self. In this bracing, captivating tale Tom Lutz, as seductive as Dmitri, brings us face to face with the hidden choices we’re all forced to make to navigate the twenty-first century.”
“When the charismatic crook Dimitri asks our modest protagonist Frank to borrow his passport, we shout “No! Don’t Do It!” But Frank can’t resist Dimitri, and neither can we in this absorbing and hugely enjoyable thriller. Dimitri talks like a character out of Elmore Leonard, and Tom Lutz writes about carpentry and Asian finance with equal skill and finesse. The sex is pretty hot, too. I didn’t want the book to end – maybe there will be a sequel? ‘Hang On Slippy’?”
“A man of modest ambitions falls under the spell of a shallow and rapacious billionaire.” Frank, when we meet him in 2000, just wants to build a high-quality house in Connecticut and start a new life after a failed relationship. Dmitry, the teenage son of distant acquaintances in England, happens to be around to help, though he’s an incompetent tradesman and his main talent is roping Frank (or “Franky,” as he calls him, much to Frank’s annoyance) into schemes redolent of prostitution and insurance fraud. Cutting the cord isn’t so simple for Frank, though: Over the dozen or so years after they meet, Dmitry pulls Frank into his orbit, be it for sleazy low-grade dalliances with women and drugs or sleazy high-stakes money laundering. “What sick shit within you responds to him?” a girlfriend asks Frank, and that’s the core question of [this] intellectual thriller. .. An entertaining neonoir about the wages of greed.
"Born Slippy is a rip-roaring 21st Century bromance from the noir loving mind of Tom Lutz. His debut novel is a wild ride around the moral compass, from the philosophic musings of autodidact Everyguy, Frank Baltimore, to the amoral aspirations of his sociopathic pal Dmitry Heald. Frank has a special talent for describing rooms from a connoisseur contractor’s POV. It helps that Lutz did some carpentry in his younger days. Raymond Chandler meets the Property Brothers!"
“Tom Lutz's debut novel is a heady cocktail of literary fiction and thriller, a Graeme Greene style concoction of international locations, compulsive lead characters, and an exploration into the modern meaning of good and evil.”
“At times, Frank enjoys seeing himself as a Dmitry’s teacher or moral compass, but could that be the only thing that draws and holds them together? Does Dmitry get something out of telling his wild stories to a working stiff? Does he somehow enjoy his excess more in telling Frank about it? What makes this sociopath character tick?”
“Lutz asks the question: why do seemingly morally upstanding men let immorality into their lives? Do they hang around the greedy and wealthy in the hope some of it might rub off? Lutz picks at the messy knot at the heart of Western culture, where the threads of masculinity and capitalism are tangled tight.”
“From the masculine characterizations to the greed and political undertones--the story is all too real with characters that readers will likely find familiar on many levels.”
“You find yourself shocked, angered, intrigued throughout the book – and constantly on the edge of your seat as you can never quite guess what Dmitry has up his sleeve or how low he may go. Born Slippy is a definite must read novel.”
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About the Author
Tom Lutz

See bio page.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase my book(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. If you are familiar with the royalty system, you know that this helps make writing books profitable. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."