Email this review


From the prolific, erratic Mr. Bocca: a caper novel, the first half spiffy, the second half ludicrous. Robert ""Ginger"" Brownlow, a major in Britain's Special Air Services who was cashiered for using extreme violence in questioning prisoners, now works as a cocktail pianist/racetrack investigator; and most lately he's been hired by a California track to drive out the private bookmakers and Syndicate thugs who are skimming millions off the track's legitimate income. Soon, however, old Ginger has fallen in love with the leading Syndicate bookie's young daughter, and when the time comes for Ginger to turn in her father, a bollox-up results in Ginger's being severely assaulted by the track owner. So, for revenge, Ginger plans his big caper: an assault team taking over the track and robbing every single person in attendance--some 30,000 people. We follow Ginger about as he rounds up his team of old service mates and prepares to mount the strike. And when the great day arrives (it's June 6th in honor of D-Day), the haul is $13 million, but several people are killed, which was not part of the plan. Some of the surviving robbers escape, and Ginger and his love buy Ecuador citizenships and live in the jungle as tragic millionaires. . . . Ginger is initially a likable hero from a familiar mold, but soon even his modest appeal is lost in the caper's preposterous moments, unlikely motivations, and cardboard supporting cast. Slipshod.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1980
Publisher: Rawson, Wade-dist. by Atheneum