A woman’s recent addition to a trust fund could earn her a windfall—provided the other beneficiaries don’t kill her first—in this thriller.
Texas bartender Theodora, better known as Steady Teddy, has had trouble with her memory since she sustained brain trauma when she was 18. Her injury stems from a home invasion resulting in her parents’ murders, an incident that an unknown man, sitting at her bar one night, inexplicably knows all about. The stranger, Gordon, makes Teddy an offer—a “life changer”—that involves a visit to New York City. As she’s evidently incited dangerous individuals with her money-making, after-hours poker games, Teddy agrees. She meets wealthy but dying New Yorker Jonathan McCluskey, who wants to make Teddy the sixth beneficiary to his trust fund. McCluskey only knows her from the bar but deems her more deserving of his money than his despised family. Perusing the trust documents, however, Teddy reads that her fellow beneficiaries (McCluskey’s wife and sons) will want her dead—and will likely try to make that happen. The typically wary woman, who’s prone to violent outbursts and blackouts, will have to rely on relative strangers for help, along with her wits and her trusty baseball bat by her side. McCrary’s (Remo Went Down, 2017, etc.) raucous novel is a Hollywood action film in print form, sizzling with fights of the gun and fist varieties. There’s little room for plot development, but further details of both Teddy’s parents and the McCluskey clan are revealed later. Though she often resorts to rage, Teddy is surprisingly winsome. In her lively first-person narrative, for example, she calls McCluskey the “pre-death dude,” and when a couple of uninvited armed men sit at her diner booth, she drolly poses the question of asking for separate checks. The speedy tale takes readers on a car chase or two before an inevitable showdown in California, with the ending stamped with a final twist and set-up for a sequel.
Unmitigated energy, aided by a protagonist as captivating as she is formidable.