This comic thriller sends a hard-luck New Jersey club owner tumbling through a mad, mad world of assorted nuts.
When Dan McEvoy, who debuted in Colfer’s Plugged (2011), awakens at the start of this second, often wacky installment, he’s cozied up to Sofia Delano, who’s on the lam from her abusive husband, Carmine. Bipolar, schizophrenic and heavily medicated, Sofia sometimes thinks Dan is Carmine. But she’s beautiful and they’ve swooned over Amelie, so Dan stays by her side. He leaves her momentarily, though, when he’s called to task by Mike Madden, the Irish boss of Cloisters, the New Jersey village where McEvoy runs a dumpy club called Slotz. Madden had assigned Dan and a friend to guard his mother, so when the mother dies after lightning strikes her ski pole on the slopes, they’re in big trouble. But Madden says McEvoy can absolve himself by delivering a package of bearer bonds to a guy named Shea in SoHo. En route to Manhattan, McEvoy is detained by two cops, who cuff and then taser him. A resourceful McEvoy shakes them by deftly wielding a large dildo (don’t ask). Gathering his wits over French toast at Norma’s in Manhattan, McEvoy encounters his grandfather’s fourth wife, Edit Vikander Costello, who brings the alarming news that Evelyn Costello, his mother’s baby sister, is missing. McEvoy heads to Shea’s SoHo lair, convinced he’s stepping into a setup. A tricky chase ensues with McEvoy rivaling Bob Hope’s speed at rapid-fire wisecracks. McEvoy, however, is not entirely flippant. Among his frequent digressions are biting, unsettling memories of home life, including one trenchant passage in which he is handed a copy of The Fountainhead. At McEvoy’s core is a melancholy soul who believes “[t]he Universe cannot suffer happiness for long….”
Colfer’s work is entertaining and expertly judged. His terse, muscular prose makes even a car chase seem like a new idea, and his McEvoy is a durable raconteur.