Spar Battersea has not had an easy life. He pinballed through his teens and early twenties in a drunken, drug-addled, punk rock fueled haze. During that time he managed to alienate just about everyone he knew, from bandmates to friends to family and everyone in between. Yet, not even getting clean and sober helped keep Spar from finding himself repeatedly at the center of one disastrous event after another.
In the two years he’s been sober Spar’s seen his best friend die, wrangled with a nasty biker gang, been the target of both a psychopathic mime and a dominatrix with an affinity for 50′s style, nearly been murdered (twice), fought off a pack of vigilante ninjas, and been put in the position of having to kill or be killed on several occasions. Death, destruction and downright weirdness just seem to follow him like a shadow.
As Dice Roll opens, the third book in the series following Death Match and Con Job, Spar is still barely clinging to both his sobriety and his sanity while working a dead end job flipping burgers at Mama Calisto’s place. On the advice of his therapist Spar is trying to form new, positive memories to help him move beyond the tragedies in his past, and he’s been going about that by hanging out with a group of fantasy role-playing gamers he met through one of his co-workers. Not exactly Spar’s preferred scene, but what’s a guy with limited options to do?
Turns out not even gaming geeks are safe from the bad luck magnet that is Spar Battersea, as on old friend of Spar’s from high school blows back into town after a ten year absence with a serious score to settle…and a posse of Beatles quoting jujitsu trained cult members to back him up. Before he knows it Spar finds himself up to his eyes in the shit again, this time with the added bonus of a very undesired trip down memory lane.
Dice Roll finds author Jay Ridler continuing to delve deeply into Spar’s character. His is not a life lead unexamined; far from it. Spar knows he’s screwed up seriously in his past, and realizes he has an almost pathological pull toward getting involved in dangerous, violent situations. And as much as he’d like to change that, he can’t help but question whether he’s somehow destined to lead that sort of life given its unswerving ability to find him despite his best efforts to lead a boring, controversy free existence. To that end, Dice Roll‘s plot very cleverly incorporates events from Spar’s past into the unfolding of his current problems, forcing Spar to come full circle.
Which is not to say Dice Roll is all navel-gazing for Spar. Though more in line with Con Job’s lighter tone (Spar’s profane but amusing “Fuck me with a ____” lament is back in full force) than the incredibly dark series debut that was Death Match, Dice Roll is packed with every bit the action as were the first two. Spar’s old friend/current nemesis and his gang are highly motivated and martial arts trained, and Spar doesn’t hesitate to call in reinforcements in the guise of friend and former professional wrestler Keith “The Bullet” Winnick (legendarily known to have killed a man in the ring back in his heyday). Add in a tough-talking, ass-kicking female police cadet with whom Spar forms an uneasy alliance, and the fists and sparks more than fly.
Dice Roll is available as an e-book at Amazon.