Crime Always Pays

Declan Burke. Severn, $28.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8375-9

Burke’s zany sequel to 2007’s The Big O practically requires a scorecard to keep track of the characters, as thief Karen King; her Siberian wolf/husky mix, Anna; kidnapping specialist Ray Brogan; and a motley crew of misfits leave a trail of chaos and confusion from Ireland to the Greek Isles. Money is at issue, with Karen netting $200,000 from a scam in which her accomplice, Madge Dolan, pretends to be kidnapped. There’s not a blameless character in the crowd following the loot: Terry Swipes, who arranged the kidnapping and is now infatuated with Madge; Karen’s ex-husband, Francis Assissi “Rossi” Callaghan, who wants revenge on Anna for biting off his ear (he deserved it); Rossi’s narcoleptic getaway driver, Sleeps; travel agent/screenwriter Melody Shine; and Det. Stephanie Doyle, currently on suspension. Burke keeps adding more characters, making for a profusion of drugs, cops, grifters, guns, and shifting alliances that’s both baffling and entertaining. Agent: Allan Guthrie, Jenny Brown Associates. (July)
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