This has been yet another hard week in my world. Got my termination letter from the local school district (not a surprise since I still hurt, can't walk, and am sleeping by way of pain pills only and they refused to make any doctor accommodation at all), went back to the back doc, and had my sixth MRI in as many months far too early this morning. That is why I am so late with this today. For the segment today, I wanted a good book that was a mystery and funny. Hence, "Bullets" by Steven Brewer. The below review first appeared in July, 2005 and comes back today.
Lily Marsden is very good at what she does. She has managed to kill and kill again and her signature style is to leave no clues or trace of her presence. Her clients pay well for her work but she is starting to get tired of the hunt and killing. Her latest target, Max Vernon, gave her no problems and she was happy to leave him dead in his room at the Tropical Bay in Las Vegas.
But Max had two brothers, Hi and Norm. Two brothers with anger and resources who aren’t going to wait for the clueless cops to figure it out. They have a very good idea why Max was taken out and plan to start rolling up Vegas for the name of the shooter. They aren’t waiting and neither is Ken Staley, the owner of the Tropical Bay, who already had enough problems to deal with. He doesn’t think the cops can find the killer either and he knows he can’t have the publicity of a trial if the cops do find her. Lily made a mistake this time and both the brothers and Staley quickly know who she is and begin hunting her.
While the brothers and Ken want her dead, former officer Joe Wiley knows the execution of Max Vernon to be her work and needs her alive. The Vegas cops aren’t interested in his help so his long running solo chase of her continues. She is the key to his clearing his severely damaged reputation in Chicago. He has no intention of backing off and his efforts are constantly interfered with by two crazy gamblers who don’t take losing well and don’t know when to quit in anything.
This novel quickly becomes a fast fun read as the point of view constantly shifts through a large ensemble cast of characters. Many of the characters are off the wall funny, while others manage to get off an occasionally funny line or two to break up the serious sections of the book. There is a certain inevitability to the read as it becomes clear that everything and everyone will collide in such a way at the end to border on the absurd.
Despite all the humor, the core mystery is complicated and rather intense. The book fully engages the reader and keeps one steadily turning the pages. While occasionally bordering on the madcap, the tone overall is relatively serious and a novel well worth reading and enjoying.
By Steve Brewer
ISBN # 0-9725776-7-X
Large Trade Paperback
Kevin R. Tipple © 2005, 2010