Colfer’s adult crime-fiction debut—after his bestselling Artemis Fowl YA series—introduces a big, brash, bawdy, balding anti-hero.
Transplanted from Ireland to the picaresque vale of Essex County, N.J., sharp-witted, hair-challenged, ex-professional soldier Dan McEvoy finds he must cope with a nonstop barrage of problematic issues, all with pain and suffering potential. Dan’s used to that, however. A gypsy once told him he had “an aura that looked like shark-infested water.” Consciousness raised, Dan does what he can to keep the sharks at bay. Now, down on his luck though ever hopeful, he is minding his own business as lead bouncer at Slotz—an acknowledged dive, but a man’s got to eat while he waits for a turn-around—when a drunken patron plants a kiss where he shouldn’t. Connie, the hostess whose anatomy has been transgressed, complains. Dan moves in and unwittingly begins a chain reaction that ends with the lead bouncer as the lead suspect in Connie’s murder. The word “ends” overstates the case, of course, since Dan is to trouble what bad boys like him are to a certain kind of woman. Consider tempestuous Detective Ronelle Deacon, for instance, who beds and cuffs Dan with equal vigor. Or the deluded widow Delano, in whose erotic fantasy Dan is a stand-in for her long-lost husband. Add to this a volatile mix of ill-intentioned baddies—a shady shyster, a mobster in search of misplaced booty and an intemperate ghost—who batter and bruise him from his toes to the follicles of his in-progress hair transplant, and it’s a near thing whether or not Dan will make it to the sequel undoubtedly scheduled.It’s a considerable step from the world of YA to this novel’s extreme raunchiness, and some in the fan base—new readers as well—may view it with alarm. Others will find the goings-on funny enough to forgive anything.