PLUGGED by Eoin Colfer

Book Quote:

“There isn’t much call for deep thinking in my current job in Cloisters, New Jersey. We don’t do a lot of chatting about philosophical issues or natural phenomena in the casino. I tried to talk about National Geographic one night, and Jason gave me a look like I was insulting him, so I moved on to a safer subject: which of the girls have implants.”

Book Review:

Review by Guy Savage  (SEP 9, 2011)

Eoin Colfer? He writes those kid’s books, Artemis Fowl, doesn’t he? What’s someone who writes really popular children’s books doing writing a crime novel? Well according to the dedication, Irish author Eoin Colfer says the book is “For Ken Bruen who made me do it.” So we have Bruen to thank for this first book in what promises to be an entertaining series.

The protagonist and narrator of Plugged is 40-something Irishman Daniel McEvoy, an ex-British army soldier with two horrendous tours in Lebanon under his belt. Plugged finds McEvoy, unable to adjust to civilian life, in Cloisters, New Jersey working nights as a bouncer in a seedy, low-rent strip club called Slotz:

“A formica bar, low lighting that’s more cheap than fashionable. A roulette wheel that bucks with every spin, two worn baize card tables and half a dozen slots. Slotz.”

Hardly a stellar career move, but then McEvoy isn’t so much into appearances–except when it comes to his bald head. When the book begins McEvoy is getting hair plugs from an unlicensed doctor named Zeb who operates a fly-by-night office, and it’s this relationship combined with the murder of a Slotz hostess that takes McEvoy out of his role of neighbourhood bouncer to amateur investigator. McEvoy soon finds himself partnered-up with a prickly female detective, and on the unfriendly end of the local crime boss.

The book’s narrative has an almost chatty, humorous, and casual approach which belies the violence that frequently and suddenly explodes on the page. McEvoy confides in his reader and enhances the narrative with flashes of Lebanese hell and memories of therapy sessions with his permanently hungover, trendy therapist Simon Moriarty–a man who in his absence has assumed the role of mentor and advisor. McEvoy is a likeable character whose seemingly-loser role in life covers independence and a well-honed philosophy:

“The great Stephen King once wrote don’t sweat the small stuff, which I mulled over for long enough to realize that I don’t entirely agree with it. I get what he means: we all have enough major sorrow in our lives without freaking out over the day-to-day hangnails and such, but sometimes sweating the small stuff helps you make it through the big stuff. Take me, for example; I have had enough earth-shattering events happen to me, beside me and underneath me to have most people dribbling in a psych ward, but what I do is try not to think about it. Let it fester inside, that’s my philosophy. It’s gotta be healthy, right? Focus on the everyday non-lethal bullshit to take your mind off the landmark psychological blows that are standing in line to grind you down.”

If you like that quote, then chances are you’re the sort of reader who will enjoy Plugged. It’s a light, fresh crime novel with an engaging protagonist whose lively sense of humour and unflinching eye deliver an entertaining read. Some of the humour gravitates around McEvoy’s Irishness and still more erupts from the well-drawn characters who range from McEvoy’s nutty neighbour–Mrs Delano: a woman who’s “beautiful-ish in a psycho kind of way” to the bitchy retired stripper, Brandi who’s “been angry at the world for about a year, since she had to hang up her stripper’s g-string and downgrade to a hostess job” at age 30.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-3-5from 7 readers
PUBLISHER: Overlook Hardcover (September 1, 2011)
REVIEWER: Guy Savage
EXTRAS: Audio Excerpt
MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION: Read our review of:

  • The Max by Ken Bruen and Jason Star

Partial Bibliography:

Artemis Fowl series:

Not a kid’s book:

September 9, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Humorous, Thriller/Spy/Caper, United Kingdom

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