By Nick Cato
Publisher: Grindhouse Press
Pub Date: July 2, 2013
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Nick Cato's funny-bizarre The Last Porno Theater is sort of a tribute to those areas. In this case, it is Times Square in 1989. Herschel Schwartzbaum is the owner of the last adult theater in Times Square and barely knows if he will still be there a year from now. Developers have bought out the other theaters and the advent of the VCR is spelling doom for the business. Yet Herschel Schwartzman keeps plugging away even when one of his employees disappear. What happens next will not be mentioned. Lets just say they don't call Nick Cato a Bizarro writer for nothing.
It is a good book all the way through but it is the first half of the novel that really shines. The author weaves a tight almost crime noir feel and covers it with a cynical yet almost nostalgic humor. He has a feel for the seedy side of the city and the residents of the down and dirty. It comes through nicely especially when Herschell meets a neighborly clothing store owner. There is both grit and affection in this book. it made me wish Cato continued it for more than the 90 pages of this too short novella.
The second half of the novel brings in the Bizarro part. it is weird and funny and manages to stay connected to the urban nostalgia of the late 80s. Maybe a little too weird at times but it still works. But overall this is a sharp little romp of the a book that evokes a time that was both sleazier and more innocent than now. I would like to read more of Nick Cato. In this work, he shows himself an excellent storyteller and a very strange man ...in a good way.