In the end, then, the readers likely to get the most out of this long, strange trip may well be those of us who, unlike the average sound-money nut, have never come so close to the edge of consensus reality that we fell off. These days, critics rightly swoon for the paranoid poetics that haunt the fiction of Thomas Pynchon, Philip K. Dick, and their like. Yet for all the lysergic beauty of these authors' works, none feels as convincingly as Cra$hmaker like a plunge into the manic, grinding anxiety of the true conspiracy theorist. The urgent compulsion to lay out the evidence, repeatedly and at length; the hidden truths that can never quite be confirmed; the obsessive fantasies of vindication. It's all right here in Cra$hmaker, just a wrong turn or two from the prosaic, universal insight that money rules the world. There but for the grace of God go alland there, by the grace of Cra$hmaker, we can all now go for a visit.
illustration: Anthony Freda
Cra$hmaker: A Federal Affaire By Victor Sperandeo and Alvaro Almeida
Sheridan Books, 1572 pp., $49.95