Thursday, 23 August 2018
LES EDGERTON - THE GENUINE, IMITATION, PLASTIC KIDNAPPING (2014)
A mix of Cajun gumbo, a couple tablespoons of kinky sex and a dash of unusual New Orleans settings and you wind up with Les Edgerton’s latest romp fest!
Pete Halliday is busted out of baseball for gambling and travels to New Orleans to make his fortune hustling. Five years later, he’s deep in debt to bookie and in cahoots with Tommy LeClerc, a Cajun with a tiny bit of Indian blood who considers himself a red man.
Tommy inveigles a reluctant Pete into one scheme after another, the latest a kidnapping scheme where they’ll snatch the Cajun Mafia King and hold his amputated hand for some serious jack.
Along the way, Pete is double-crossed by Tommy and falls in love with part-time hooker and full-time waitress Cat Duplaisir. With both the Italian and Cajun mobs after them, a chase through Jazz Fest, a Tourette’s outbreak in a black bar and other zany adventures, all seems lost.
Fans of Tim Dorsey’s character Serge Storms, and readers who enjoy Christopher Moore and Carl Hiaasen will enjoy this story.
“A hard-driving, relentless story with grab-you-by-the-throat characters.”—Grant Blackwood, New York Times bestselling author
With Plastic Kidnapping, author Les Edgerton serves up an intriguing caper novel with plenty of black humour, some madcap ill-thought out criminal schemes, a pair of amateur bunglers, the Cajun Mafia and a hooker with a heart.
By the end (spoiler alert) we have a reluctant romance as main man Pete Halliday gets the damaged girl, Cat after surviving the worst their common enemy can throw at them and in Cat's case exacting some retribution on one of her former abusers.
In mostly chronological order we have......a hopeless gambler, a lost baseball career, moderate career ambitions with a po-boy joint, some low level New Orleans hustling, an ill-advised partnership with an incompetent crook - part-Indian Tommy LeClerc, a failed kidnap, some valuable lessons learned, on the run and hiding out, permanent pursuit by an unsympathetic debt collector, a dog fighting sting, jail time, a second go at the main event, amateur amputation hour, some kinky sex, a double cross, an unintentional love affair, a bale of cash, some time on the river, a new career beckoning, into the heart of the lion's den, a rescue mission, a chase, a showdown, some help from an unlikely source, freedom, forgiveness, dodgy plastic surgery and pastures new.
Events are recounted through from Pete's perspective and throughout there is plenty of banter and tension in his relationship with Tommy. Pete has an awareness of the seriousness of their situation and several times considers flight as the only sensible option. (Still aware that there is no rock far enough away on this earth that he can hide under.) However, he is weak in regards to acting on his impulses and is a sucker for Tommy's schemes. Just as well, or we wouldn't have have the book we have if fleeing the city won out.
Throughout I was rooting for Pete and it was interesting seeing him evolve and embrace love for probably the first time in his life. A more successful criminal career or even legit one might have beckoned if Cat was his partner from the start instead of Tommy.
Cat Duplaisir has her own troubled history and past, but part of her appeal is her refusal to be cowed by the cards life has dealt to her. Sold by a parent as a young girl to an abuser, who dispensed with her when a young teen and she was too old for his sick predilections. Damaged yes, but she's a survivor and retains her humanity and heart, whilst having the chops to ensure she won't be taken advantage of again. She's by far the strongest character in the book.
Funny, irreverent, non-PC, larger than life, darker undertones at times, outlandish and highly improbable but extremely satisfying. Great characters, great setting, fantastic outcome. There's nothing fake or plastic about Edgerton's ability to fashion an entertaining and exciting story with a heart.
4.5 from 5
Plastic Kidnapping was my second dance with Les Edgerton's work. The Bitch was enjoyed back in 2014 - thoughts here.
More from him sits on the pile. I shouldn't leave it so long next time - four years plus? Really!
Les Edgerton has his website here.
Read in August, 2018
Published - 2014
Page count - 270
Source - purchased copy
Format - kindle