A Sarasota lawyer takes the case of a wife charged with killing her husband and gets enwrapped in a caper rife with kidnappings, gangsters, and gators in Kelly’s (The Lost Treasure, 2013) thriller.
Tommy Ails’ legal approach is a bit unorthodox. He manages to provoke the judge presiding over his latest case, which winds up being thrown out on a technicality. Fortunately, his client is a content Tony “Two Fingers” Scirocco, a Mafia head who sends Candy Wrap in Tommy’s direction. Cops have Candy pinned for the bludgeoning death of her prominent businessman husband, Stephen. Seems like a fairly standard investigation, until Tommy realizes that the person spying on his and Candy’s meeting is reputed Colombian drug lord Don CeSar. Before he knows it, Tommy’s receiving threats courtesy of a hoodlum duo that wants him to drop Candy as a client and end his association with Tony. Tony, meanwhile, finds himself a murder suspect when one of his employees takes a couple of bullets to the skull. Tommy gets helping hands from pal Detective Walter Simpson and cousin/roommate/new assistant Donny Dweed in (hopefully) exposing the real killer(s). The attorney, however, isn’t the only one in danger, as thuggish types may go after Candy, the object of Tommy’s wandering eye, or his landlady, Madge (aka Mom). The author’s quirky comedy is a pure delight, thanks to a handful of uproarious characters. Donny, for one, is truly the gumshoe, doing Tommy’s legwork for free as he aspires to be a “private dick.” Tommy, on the other hand, is the antithesis of a rugged Hollywood detective; he drinks margaritas, passes out or throws up on his own (no Mickey required), and uses a kitchen utensil as a weapon instead of a gun. Readers looking for mystery may be disappointed, because baddies are warning Tommy off the case before an investigation’s really begun. But while the murderer’s identity isn’t surprising, watching Tommy’s problems pile up, including a film festival that gets everyone distracted, is endlessly amusing. Tommy can easily carry a series—and with any luck will bring along his friends and family.
A protagonist whose charm and wit outshine the plot, which readers surely shouldn’t mind.