A former Hollywood star gets caught up in drugs, terrorists, and international espionage in this globe-trotting novel.
It’s been years since Londoner Eddy Relish’s Hollywood career fizzled. Nowadays, he’s borrowing money from “Reverend” Bill Blake, a vicious man who repeatedly quotes the Bible and has an affinity for nail guns. When Eddy can’t repay a loan, Bill forces him to become a drug mule. But Chinese intelligence operative Cynthia Tzin comes to Eddy’s aid. She knows him from his days in the United States, where she’s nightclub-owning Madam Sin. Cynthia believes Eddy can be an asset in gathering intel for China. But Eddy’s earlier chance encounter with Islamic terrorist Abdul Madbul also puts him in the unique position of being the only person who can identify the evasive extremist. Cynthia will help Eddy reestablish himself in Hollywood, where he’ll essentially be bait to catch Madbul. Indeed, the terrorist knows Eddy can ID him and is therefore on the hunt. So, too, is Bill, as Eddy failed to transport the reverend’s heroin from Hong Kong. Even Eddy’s comeback is in danger: Producer Cy Sly, who played a part in crushing the actor’s career the first time, plans to do it again. Dalzell (Everything Hurts, 2014, etc.) and debut author Radley swiftly kick-start their novel, as Bill is threatening Eddy with his nail gun in little time. The plot eventually spins threads that feature numerous other characters from around the world. Bill, in particular, finds friends and foes among the Russians, the Japanese, and more. In fact, many of the supporting characters prove much more intriguing than the protagonist, including Cynthia, whose authority and prowess are never in question, and Eddy’s girlfriend, Sharon Constable, who runs for council in the couple’s London borough. Though the authors’ tight prose and abundant subplots keep the narrative moving at a steady clip, the story is occasionally perplexing. A surprise blood relation between two characters, for example, has no real bearing on the plot. And why Madbul still wants to eliminate Eddy after the terrorist’s sketch goes public remains unclear.
An array of zestful characters rescues this adventure’s somewhat muddled plot.