Site Progress




New Releases

Author Websites









Colfer, Eoin - 'Screwed'
Paperback: 368 pages (Sep. 2013) Publisher: Headline ISBN: 0755391888

Daniel. I hope you are not conversing with your guns. Remember we talked about this. It is not healthy to attribute blame to a rifle.

Cloisters, Essex County, New Jersey.
Daniel McEvoy is thinking of his ex-landlady Sofia as he heads to the casino. She's crazy. Most of the time she thinks Daniel is her long-lost husband Carmine. Unfortunately Daniel is in love with her. His thoughts are interrupted by his cell phone. His friend Zeb Kronski breaks the bad news. Mrs Madden is dead. It's not just that she is dead that makes this news bad. It is because Mrs Madden is their insurance. Zeb and Daniel refrain from killing her and in return "Irish Mike", her son and Cloisters' very own Mr Big, will refrain from killing them. This is a system that has worked well up to now but in all honesty who would have thought of adding the actual cause of Mrs Madden's death, a freak lightning strike, to the plan. Mike has summoned them to a meeting where he poses a solution: he will let them live if Daniel delivers a package to a guy in SoHo - a guy who can be a little touchy. However, if Daniel fails to deliver the package then Daniel and all those he cares for are at risk: Sofia, his casino partner, whoever. Noting that Zeb has typically come to his own arrangement with Irish Mike, Dan sets out to deliver the package. And when two local cops draw up and tell him that his friend Lieutenant Deacon would like a word, he climbs into the back of their car. He hasn't bargained for the up-close tasering he receives. And waking up handcuffed to a chair wearing nothing but a pink thong is not on his to-do list either - particularly with two cops wearing gimp masks and rubber aprons who are hunched over their laptop checking auction pledges. What's more it appears that the item up for auction is the video of Dan's torture and death...

Eoin Colfer is famous for his children's/young adult's books and in particular for his Artemis Fowl series. His first adult thriller, PLUGGED, featured Irish ex-pat and ex-soldier Dan McEvoy working as a New Jersey casino "bouncer". I enjoyed the plot, pace and rapid-fire wit of it. Now we have a follow-up - SCREWED - which does not disappoint either. Be warned that the wise-cracking language sometimes becomes so convoluted that you have to hang on to the plot by your finger nails. But there is plenty of plot to hang on to. We revisit Daniel, back on familiar New Jersey territory, trying as always to get out from under Irish Mike's killing thumb. This time he is also trying to get away from murderous cops whilst delivering a package to a touchy gangster and searching for a missing aunt - the last of his family and a woman he remembers fondly for taking his young self under her inebriated wing. The resources that Daniel possesses are his ex-soldiering skills, his untrustworthy wheeler-dealer friend Zeb, his psychiatrist's "tweets", and his determination to live and enjoy the trappings of a normal-ish life which are his casino, his work partners and his crazy girlfriend Sofia.

SCREWED is a fast-paced, witty and gritty thriller. Daniel has seen enough of life as a UN Peace-keeper in Lebanon for it to have taken its toll so the book has a tough edge to its comedy. But it provides a welcome dose of black humour and fast action if one has spent a little too much time immersed in the gloomier reaches of crime fiction. Happily there are enough characters and hints of unfinished stories here to ensure that Daniel's return is inevitable - and eagerly awaited by me. I thoroughly recommend it.

Lynn Harvey, England
October 2013

Lynn blogs at Little Grey Doll.

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 10/10/2013 13:18