PLUGGED - Eoin Colfer

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Book Synopsis

Murder, corruption and hair loss in New Jersey.

'Once I have hair, I'll be happy.'  At least that's what Irish ex-army sergeant Daniel McEvoy tells himself.

As doorman at a seedy New Jersey casino, dealing with unpleasant customers, a psychotic neighbour and a receding hairline are all part of Dan's daily grind.  Then he has a particularly bad day.  Not only does his friend, dodgy doctor Zeb Kronski, mysteriously disappear, but Dan's sometime-girlfriend, casino hostess Connie, is found with a hole in her head.

Book Review

Not having read any of Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl books, I'm guessing from the author's own description of that series as "Die Hard with fairies", that PLUGGED has a hefty dose of the same sort of humour but this time for adults.

Certainly part of one blurb I read "the crime caper so outlandish, so maniacal, so wickedly funny, it could only come from the mind that brought you Artemis Fowl" set expectations pretty firmly.  

There's definitely something deliciously perverse about the scenario of this book - an Irish, ex-pat bouncer whose girlfriend is murdered in the car park of the seedy casino that he's just won in a game of Poker.  Not that I'd agree with the use of "girlfriend" - that seems a little more what Daniel McEvoy hoped was going on with Connie than what she'd actually agreed to.  Winning your own business also might seem like an opportunity, and Dan certainly starts off with the best interests of his new employees at heart, but he's distracted.  Partially by his barking mad upstairs neighbour who seems to think he's her long lost husband.  But really his major problem is his dodgy hair transplant surgeon has gone missing and Dan's new hair plugs itch.  Well maybe that and the fact that he's managed to make an enemy of one of New Jersey's most ruthless drug-dealers, he's been framed for a crime he didn't commit, his only ally seems to be a cop-killing female cop, and all this getting shot at is likely to start him pulling out his hair - which he really cannot afford to be doing right now.

So, a slightly manic plot and a slightly bizarre situation which, luckily proved hugely entertaining and very very funny at points.  The crying with laughter bit helps a lot as well as this is such a busy busy plot, there are some rather desperate attempts to keep the whole thing on track and tied up at points.  Which frankly I didn't much care about.  

This is a good old fashioned caper novel, with a wonderful, try hard sort of bloke at the centre who truly is a very likeable character.  There is a good cast of equally eccentric individuals surrounding him, but somehow, they seem to sort of work in the world that they inhabit.  Definitely intended as sheer entertainment, PLUGGED, really delivered that component in spades.  It is a caper though, it is intended to be funny, so don't look too closely at the details.  PLUGGED probably should have come with a warning that reading in an area with other people may get you some startled looks because you really should find yourself laughing out loud frequently.

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