Every Man A Menace

Every Man A Menace

Mysterious Book Report No. 269

John Dwaine McKenna

Hello, and welcome to the 2017 edition of the Mysterious Book Report, where we’re dedicated to the proposition that You must read . . . or surrender yourself to ignorance, which makes just as much sense today as it did 2,500 years ago when a Chinese philosopher named Kong Zi said it.  The world knows him as Confucius, and his teachings are as cogent now as they were then . . . perhaps even more so in this day and age of the ten-second soundbite and three-second attention span.  The MBR is here to encourage, promote and stimulate the reading habit in everyone.  We do it by reading and reporting on the best new mysteries, thrillers and crime fiction being written today, with an emphasis on all of the exciting, up-and-coming new talent producing work that’s comparable, or even superior, to the legends and the best writers of the past.  Take this week’s composition for example.

Every Man a Menace, (Grove Atlantic Press, $25.00, 278 pages, ISBN 978-0-8021-2544-6) by Patrick Hoffman is his second published novel and the follow-up to last year’s best-selling debut, The White Van.  It’s getting rave reviews for it’s tight plotting, realistic characters and compelling dialogue, as well as it’s spot-on examination of the global operations of today’s large-scale drug wholesalers.

As the novel begins, a newly released convict named Raymond Gaspar is sent to San Francisco by the gang-lord who ran the crew that protected him in prison, to check on the massive shipment of MDMA—also known as Molly, or Ecstasy—that’s about to be brought into the city from Thailand.  The boss, still in prison, wants Raymond to keep tabs on Gloria, the Filipino woman who’s brokering the sale, and the increasingly erratic, crazed dealer named Shadrack.  He’s the guy who runs around with a gym bag stuffed full of precious gems; diamonds, rubies and emeralds, because he’s afraid of banks.  He’s also the guy who’s supposed to pony up with several million in cash to pay everyone  off . . . from Bangkok to Miami to San Francisco . . . and keep the good times rolling.  But nothing ever seems to go as planned in the criminal underworld, and a phone call from Asia sets a chain of events in motion that will end in blood and death for some, fabulous wealth, if they can pull it off, for others while the end-users party on, oblivious to the trail of pain, betrayal and bloodshed behind their latest good time.  Proving he’s no fluke with a one-hit wonder, Patrick Hoffman has written an electrifying novel that plunks the reader down, smack-dab in the middle of the transglobal drug scene.  It’s a truly frightening peek into what’s going on all around us . . . no matter where we live.  Every Man A Menace is one of the most outstanding sophomore novels to come across my radar screen in a very long time.  With it’s propulsive pacing, diabolic plot and relentless action, it’ll keep all crime fiction lovers  arc welded to the page.  Don’t plan on getting much done after you start reading, but once you finish, its gonna seem like forever until Hoffman’s next one is published.  Personally, I can’t wait!

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