Michael Kandel started out in his career translating the science fiction books of Stanislaw Lem into English. Having read both authors, Kandel's absurdist sense of humor must have helped him bring Lem's works into English. In Captain Jack Zodiac, Kandel creates a hilarious dystopian future world similar to ours in which an everyman sets out to fix what's gone horribly badly wrong -- in his life and in the world in general. As you can guess, nothing works out as he expects.
I can only go into a little detail or I'll ruin the experience for the readers when they enjoy this book for the first time. In the pages of this book, you will recognize ideas that have, since its first publication in 1991, appeared in movies, television shows, and other science fiction novels and stories. And yes, there's a surprise twist near the end.
To give you more of an explanation for the "feel" of this book, I will tell you that I often "see" books as movies in my head as I read them. In the "movie in my head" I cast the following parts:
Robin Williams is the main character.
Billy Crystal and Carol Kane (reprising their characters from The Princess Bride) as the owners of the Mom and Pop gun store.
Last but not least, Robert De Niro, in all the manic glory he can bring to a comedic part, as the title character, Captain Jack Zodiac. Enjoy!