From Penn Jillette of the legendary magic duo Penn & Teller: a rollicking crime caper that will bend your mind like a spoon.
"Penn Jillette is an atheist, triple-goddamned lunatic, and his book is a glorious Las Vegas lunatic paean to chance and adventure—a page-turning, scabrous, hilarious ride into randomness."
"Jillette's latest novel, Random, is about a young man who inherits his father's crushing debt to a loan shark and turns to dice—and other dangerous measures—to dig himself out. That the dice bring him luck sends him a new philosophy of leaving decisions both big and small up to chance."
—New York Times
Two weeks before his twenty-first birthday, Las Vegas native Bobby Ingersoll finds out he’s inherited a crushing gambling debt from his scumbag father. The debt is owed to an even scummier bag named Fraser Ruphart who oversees his bottom-rung criminal empire from the classy-adjacent Trump International Hotel. Bobby’s prospects of paying off the note, which comes due the day he turns twenty-one, are about as dim as the sign on the hotel’s facade.
The two weeks pass in the blink of a (snake) eye, but before Bobby’s luck runs out, he stumbles upon enough cash to pay off Ruphart and change his family’s fortune. More importantly, he finds himself with a new, for lack of a better word, faith.
Bobby does not consign his big break to a “higher power”—what Penn Jillette hero ever could? Instead, he devises and devotes himself to Random, a philosophy where his life choices are based entirely on the roll of his “lucky” dice. What follows is a rollicking exploration into not so much what defines us as what divines us when we give over every decision—from what to eat to whom to marry to how or when to die—to the random fall of two numbered cubes.
Random combines the intellectual curiosity of Richard Dawkins with the humor and grit of an Elmore Leonard antihero. Jillette’s up-on-his-luck Ingersoll is the character we need to help us navigate the chaos of the post-truth era.
Well, unless his roll runs cold.
"Random is everything you would hope from Penn Jillette and so much more. Random numbers are seemingly crazy, unconnected, and unpredictable: this fabulous, wondrously compelling, funny, and original novel is all that too. As for laughs—it passed the the fling-up-the-head-snort-and-slap-the-thigh test a dozen times in the first few pages alone. Hugely recommended."
—Stephen Fry, actor/writer
"Bravo, Bobby Ingersoll. Encore, Penn Jillette!"
"Jillette (Presto!), the magician best known as the verbal half of Penn and Teller, unveils an entertaining Las Vegas picaresque . . . Jillette's acerbic wit and perfect pacing keep this afloat. Readers will hope Jillette has more fiction up his sleeves."
"Jillette is one of our weirder national treasures. [His] unironic hero is Bobby Ingersoll, a nobody who makes his living driving strip club ads up and down the Strip . . . After accidentally ripping off some gangbangers during a botched robbery, Bobby drops it all on a roll of the dice and suddenly finds himself a multimillionaire with an epiphany: 'The Dice now owned Bobby. He owed his life to Chance' . . . An average joe's free-spirited, madcap romp through the last days of American empire."
"Penn Jillette is half of Penn & Teller, the longest-running magic show in Las Vegas. This is his crime-fiction debut, and he has put together a wild story set in Sin City that is sinfully diverting . . . [A] crackerjack caper."
"The reader on your list who loves to laugh will thoroughly enjoy Random by Penn Jillette. It's the story of an almost-twenty-one-year-old who inherits a pile of debt from his horrible father, and it's due to the (even more horrible) loan shark when the guy turns 21. Will a roll of the dice eliminate all his problems? Lucky is the person who gets this book, to find out."
—QSaltLake Magazine, Holiday Gift Guide
"[Random] is the story of Bobby Ingersoll, who finds himself responsible for his father's gambling debts, and who places his faith—or something like it—in 'Random,' the philosophy of basing life choices entirely on the roll of his 'lucky' pair of dice. What follows is a rollicking exploration of what happens when we give over every decision—from what to eat to whom to marry to how or when to die—to the random fall of two numbered cubes."
"The book explored an interesting story that could have gone very differently if someone actually tried to live by the dice in this manner, but then again, if Bobby's life had immediately crashed and burned, it would not have made for a very interesting novel."
"Random, is a corker about a Vegas guy in a tight spot who has a stroke of luck—and turns it into a life philosophy. It hits the world on Oct. 11— place a bet on it."
—J.D. Heyman, CultureWag