The Big O

Declan Burke, Author . Harcourt $24 (279p) ISBN 978-0-15-101408-8

While Irish author Burke (Eight-ball Boogie ) has been compared to Elmore Leonard, this effort falls short of Leonard’s superior blending of crime and dark humor. The impending parole of violent armed robber Rossi Francis Assisi Callaghan sets in motion a cascading series of events. Callaghan’s ex-wife, Karen King, herself a thief, fears he’ll come after her, and seeks to get herself some insurance in the form of professional kidnapper Ray Brogan. Ray, in turn, is hired to abduct Karen’s friend, Madge Dolan, by her husband, Frank, a plastic surgeon who wants to cash in a lucrative insurance policy. The waters are further muddied by questions about Callaghan’s parentage and the introduction of a vicious, half-blind dog named Stalin. The broadly drawn figures and situations are clearly not intended to be taken seriously, but the absence of any character a reader is likely to sympathize with is a significant drawback. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/21/2008
Release date: 09/01/2008
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-9551264-2-0
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