Kirkus Reviews QR Code
ONE-TRICK PONY by Stan Trybulski


by Stan Trybulski

ISBN: 978-1-4415-3168-1

Vigilante justice is the real star of this action-packed international crime novella, which features sexed-up tough guy/wine connoisseur/attorney Doherty and a trio of short stories about more bad people getting what they deserve.

Lovers of glossy, sophisticated thrillers will immediately be hooked by the third in the Doherty series by Trybulski (Forty-Deuce, 2008, etc.). Doherty is a New York City attorney and former DA prosecutor who sidelines in touchy private investigations. In One-Trick Pony, he must find the missing daughter of Judge Cynthia Milligan, who’s on the fast track to a Supreme Court seat and therefore vulnerable. Her college-aged daughter Vanessa has been abducted in Paris by the terrorist group Mistral Jihad, but so far they’ve made no demands or asked for ransom. The protagonist accepts the job and a huge wad of cash from Milligan to track down the girl in France. Discretion is key, as Doherty soon learns the real reason why he–not the FBI or CIA–was called in on the case. The body count climbs as Doherty and sidekick Hank Lowrie Jackson, a polyglot Native American who works for the Feds in some unnamed capacity, invade France and Germany, eat like kings, sample the local wines and attend the World Cup. The antagonist LaPlume–an ambitious crypto-Nazi French demagogue–is barely present as Doherty picks off the bad guys. Though the predictably ambiguous ending fails to convince, Trybulski’s bright style and underlying humor are an enjoyable read, especially for those who enjoy foodie chat with a heaping helping of guns and explosives. Of the tales that follow, “In the Old Days” is a vignette with Hank front and center, while “No Loose Ends” reads like the teleplay for a lost Hitchcock Presents episode, with its ugly but expected “surprise” ending. Only “Hold Out” rises above filler status, with a plot worthy of Dexter and a disturbing air of intergenerational self-righteousness and carefully plotted revenge.

Sure to earn a place on the shelves of suave crime-novel buffs.