THE MONKEY'S FIST by William D. Pease


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 The mandarins of the new world order sure make a mistake when they pick on retired D.C. cop Eddie Nickles (Playing the Dozens, 1990), who's just trying to buy his daughter a graduation gift. To pick up a quick $10,000 toward Priscilla's Mustang, Eddie agrees to take on the case of Toddy and Helen Grehm, slain stalwarts of the Iberia Trading Company, at the behest of Grehm friend Garland Bolles. There's a clear lead the Metropolitan Police haven't followed up: a photo of a man trying to use Helen's ATM card a few hours after her murder. But when Eddie and a homeboy buddy identify the ATM thief, he swears he didn't kill any white folks. Shortly after, he's dead, and things don't look too good for Eddie, who barely manages to repel a pair of masked intruders who've obviously been sent to his house to tie off a loose end. Eddie's convalescence is enlivened by the discoveries that (1) Garland Bolles doesn't exist; (2) Iberia Trading is actually a cover for a nest of American spies, counterspies, and assorted wheeler-dealers; (3) not everybody in the tight little peninsula of Iberia and its kissing cousin, the Special Projects Directorate, gets along with everybody else (though some of them are downright matey with their Russian counterparts); (4) Helen Grehm's funeral may have been premature; and (5) this cloak-and- dagger stuff seems to have been furnished with all the paraphernalia from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (laughably innocuous front organization, unflappable security director, loose-cannon operatives enslaved by their own lusts--well, maybe it's not all out of U.N.C.L.E.). Coolly surveying the formidable array of international talent arrayed against him, Eddie takes them all on--in a cheeky, intermittently amusing little-man fantasy that tries, but fails, to do for the international espionage community what The Doorbell Rang did for the F.B.I. The Gallant Little Tailor vs. the CIA, the KGB, and the harried reader's credulity. (First printing of 75,000; $75,000 ad/promo; author tour)

Pub Date: July 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-670-85129-9
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1996