Kitchin, Rob - 'Stiffed'
Tadhg Maguire (pronounced Taig, Tad to his enemies) is a luckless Irish guy living in Carrick Falls, a small town in the US.
The book opens with a very rude awakening for him. Staggering home drunk and climbing into bed the previous night, he failed to note that his sleeping girlfriend Kate was in fact a dead mafioso named Tony Marino.
Tadhg has a choice: call the police or hide the body. In keeping with his preferred pattern of making bad decisions, he chooses to hide the body, pretty much ruining his day. Soon he's up to his neck in bodies - and also people trying their damnedest to make him a body.
Ranged against Tadhg are a small-town hoods, a gang of Memphis criminals, the local police, his crazed girlfriend, and just about everybody else.
Luckily his friends are there to support him - although that support is of often dubious value. Jason is a more-than-portly computer programmer living in his mom and dad's basement. Paavo is an Army veteran who may just have been a cook. Annabelle is a millionaire chocolatier who at least offers access to refrigerated trucks. Sexual tension - not that they'd admit it - comes in the form of Tadhg's first ever girlfriend.
The gang make out like a bunch of amateur action heroes. In true screwball-noir style, the balance of power shifts every chapter, in a whirlwind of shoot-outs, kidnaps, escapes, hostage exchanges, and car chases.
STIFFED is a quick and undemanding read which should appeal to Carl Hiaasen fans. The cast of characters is good company and the story never loses pace. A good one for the beach.
Rich Westwood, England