Friday, September 23, 2011

PLUGGED, by Eoin Colfer -- Wicked Funny Crime

Even the author's website begins with how to say the name of this Irish author -- "It's pronounced Owen!" What a relief ... a little knowledge is not only a dangerous thing, but a bit of ease to the inner ear.

Speaking of inner ear: PLUGGED is a darkly funny crime novel set in New Jersey. And between the Irish twist taking place in the thoughts of Daniel McEvoy, and the apparent haunting he's suffering, there's a lot to tickle the ear. And that's putting it cleanly. Smooth, quick, bounced between wry smiles and quick snickers and "omigosh" grins, the suspense in this classic caper takes off from a low-end casino in New Jersey, where Daniel is the doorman/bouncer, in classic love or lust with at least one of the working girls on the scene. And helpful in sweet little ways ...
I shepherd them into the time-out room, which is barely more than a broom closet; in fact there are a couple of mops growing like dreadlocked palms out of a cardboard box island in the corner.

"You okay?" I ask Connie, glad to see she's not smoking. Six months and counting.

She nods, sitting on a ratty sofa. "Dude licked my ass. Licked it. You got any wipes, Daniel?"

I handed her a slim pack. You always carry a pack of antiseptic wipes working a bottom-rung New Jersey casino like Slotz. There's all sorts of stuff you can catch just hanging around.
Okay, if you're not grossed out, go get a copy of this book and pretend you don't know that Colfer made the first massive wave of his writerly reputation doing kids' fantasy (Artemis Fowl). He's got a sometimes icky but always lighthearted new direction here that could make him the next in the group that includes Donald Westlake and Dave Zeltserman.

And if you're appalled at the language and imagery, skip over to a different one of our reviews. I've got a lot of territory to cover today. The truth is, mysteries and crime fiction come in a lot of genres -- and if they're well written or significant, I hope we're taking a look at almost all of them.

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