Meet fourteen-year-old Dillon: a self-described nerdy band fag in too-small clothes accessorized by a clarinet case and orthodontic headgear with a robin’s egg–blue satin strap. Fresh from the rigors of junior high school gym class and daily torment by studly jock Aaron Lewis, Dillon is in desperate need of a three-month reprieve. Alas, that isn’t to be—not after Dillon’s mother, Lana, stumbles across his stash of empty wine bottles and Sears catalog pages featuring scantily clad male torsos. Unfortunately for Dillon, Lana has recently swapped booze and overflowing cleavage for fervent devotion to the one man who can never leave her, the Lord Jesus Christ, and His earthbound henchman, Wayne Blandings, assistant pastor at the Church of the Divine Redeemer. Alarmed at the diabolical evidence of Dillon’s drunken, perverted nocturnal hobbies, Lana and Wayne conclude that Bible Camp is his only hope. Now on the verge of being shipped off to the Christian barracks, Dillon needs salvation of a different kind.
Before you can say hallelujah, Dillon’s personal savior materializes—fabulously shirtless and smoking a French cigarette. Perpetually on the lam, Uncle Max needs a place to hang—and hide—out for a while. But the flamboyant Francophile can’t seem to elude a colorful mini-entourage that includes his parole officer, Meredith; his sexy mountaineer boyfriend, Serge; and fellow con artist and antiques dealer Jane Nguyen. Much to Dillon’s amazement, loathsome Lana isn’t all he has in common with the dashing family black sheep.
Sprung from the proverbial closet at last, Dillon finds himself under Max’s supervision for the summer. This entails Hitchcock films, Balzac novels, and a crash course in shoplifting, from which Dillon swiftly graduates to insurance fraud and art heists. Now, as Max and Jane’s devoted sidekick, he’s the third member of the notorious “Balzac Bunch,” who specialize in befriending blue-haired, blue-blooded bridge players—and then relieving them of their priceless antiques.
Too quickly, sultry July gives way to steamy August, and the heat is on in more ways than one. Now the cops are closing in, and only two things are certain: that autumn and Max’s departure are imminent—and that for Dillon, nothing will ever be the same again.