The Big Black Bag by Barbara Karen Sherman

The Big Black Bag

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A debut crime novel examines a cutthroat lawyer and a strange journey following his death.

Joe de Killer is a lawyer best described as fastidious and foul-tempered. Originally from Hoboken, New Jersey, Joe hasn’t risen in his profession by being nice. Quick to criticize and fire any subordinate that fails to please him, he keeps things in his personal and professional lives well under control. Enter into the equation a young woman with “big periwinkle blue eyes” named Ingrid. As Joe’s girlfriend, Ingrid enjoys Caribbean vacations and luxury goods. But if she gains a few pounds and spoils her bikini figure, she can easily suffer Joe’s wrath and ultimately be replaced “with something that was more to his level of satisfaction.” When a business emergency calls the couple back from a Bahamas getaway, Ingrid knows something must be amiss. When she discovers a big black bag in the couple’s home, her suspicions are confirmed. Should she drug Joe with a sleeping pill, take the bag, and run off with a criminal lawyer friend of his? Obviously. While Ingrid’s plans do not unfold exactly the way she envisioned, Joe eventually dies, leaving the fate of the bag open to whomever desires it the most. While things could certainly wind down here, Sherman moves the story back to the Bahamas, where it is pushed into supernatural territory. Though it takes quite a few pages for the adventure to enter this realm, once the background is set, the strangeness can begin. Dialogue can hinder tension, as when characters announce exactly what they are going to do (one guy remarks that he and his companions should “register at the desk and go up to our rooms” upon entering a hotel). What keeps the narrative lively is the pressing issue of who, if anyone, will wind up with the black bag, and just what sort of oddities those involved will encounter next.

This fanciful novel offers a unique, if leisurely paced, take on the cash-and-dash potboiler.

Pub Date: July 16th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-5246-1868-1
Page count: 198pp
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Program: Kirkus Indie
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