The Hard Stuff

Mysterious Book Report No. 390

by John Dwaine McKenna

Joe the bouncer is back.  Joe Brody is his real name . . . he’s the guy with a special skill set that he crafted and honed to perfection during a ten year career in the U.S. Special Forces, where all his missions were classified ultra top secret and sealed, before he was kicked out for drug and alcohol addiction.  Now, Joe maintains order in a strip club that’s owned by his lifelong friend and mob boss, Gio Caprisi.  But, there’s another aspect of Joe Brody that will enthrall all noir lovers.  He’s known as The Sheriff, to his friend Caprisi and the other mobsters, because Brody has a star-shaped scar from a bullet wound on his chest.  Joe’s the man they all turn to when they’ve been wronged.

The Hard Stuff, (Mysterious Press, $26.00, 311 pages, ISN 978-0-8021-2956-7), by David Gordon, finds Joe detoxing and getting the monkey off his back with the help of a Chinese Doctor who’s a herbalist and acupuncture expert.  Then, just as he’s finally clean and sober, the crime lords want Brody to do a job for them. The task?  Steal a gigantic shipment of heroin that’s coming into New York City from Afghanistan.  It’s the highest and purest kind of the stuff—known as China White—and as such, it’s the most valuable of the illicit opiates.  The sale will go to fund Al-Qaeda terrorist operations around the world.  It will also introduce an entirely new and reliable large source of drugs into America, and firmly establish a brand-new mega-player into the New York-New England and Atlantic coast region.  Bad news for everybody.  Oh, and as if that’s not enough for Brody to take on, Gio and the other crime bosses need him to steal two billion dollars worth of diamonds in order to effect the drug transactions, then steal it back so the terrorists won’t benefit.  Simple, huh?

Readers will find themselves rooting all-out for this most unlikely, improbable and fascinating anti-hero as he takes on the herculean, seemingly impossible tasks assigned to him.  Escape and enjoy, as Joe the Bouncer takes the concept of bad-assery into a whole different universe!

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