New York newspaperman Roscoe Baragon, flabby, middle-aged, with a penchant for Japanese monster movies, has stumbled across the story of the century. Maybe. It involves togas, radioactive bodies, weird whales, and NASA's BioLab, which has plunged into the ocean and may have mutant life on board. Knipfel's debut novel jangles with the same tart prose that made his 1999 memoir Slackjaw a must-read, but his cleverly constructed conspiracy ultimately disappoints. Fortunately, the myriad neo-noir supporting characters -- a Russian madwoman; a beautiful, Coney Island-loving pathologist; an obsessive German pastry chef -- make freakily enjoyable diversions.