Tuesday, 11 July 2017

J. B. KOHL/ERIC BEETNER - OVER THEIR HEADS (2015)


Synopsis/blurb…..

The drugs are missing and four lives are about to collide.

Clyde just wanted to make a little extra cash on the side to raise his new baby. Now his life and the lives of his wife and newborn daughter are in jeopardy.

Brent just wanted to do his job and be left alone. Now he’s in a race against time for his life.

Sean just wanted to escape the crime he committed in Detroit. Now he’s stumbled into another. The money he embezzled is nothing compared the load of narcotics that fell into his lap.

And Skeeter? Well, Skeeter wants the drugs back, and he’ll use any means necessary to get them.

When these four are let loose on a mad scramble to locate the drugs, they cut a path of mayhem and bloodshed across Virginia. Inept would-be criminals clash with ruthless drug dealers in a violent weekend where no one is safe.

The only certainty: Everyone is in over their heads.

“Hard boiled pulp, hot off the press. The writing team of JB Kohl and Eric Beetner give the middle finger to polite crime writing and splatter the pages of Over Their Heads with foul mouthed, two-fisted action delivered in a hail of bullets. Neo-noir, transgressive fans will cheer. Drawing room mystery readers may need smelling salts. Don’t say you weren’t warned.” 
—Anonymous-9, author of Hard Bite and Bite Harder

Another book from last year that I read, loved and never got around to posting a few random thoughts on. Over a year on, my retention of events unfolding is more than sketchy. Enough has been retained that indicates it was a better than average book, though probably not enough to form a coherent review.

Drug dealing as a sideline, a splash of white-collar crime, an innocent employee and a psychotic menace who's happy to break a few heads to recover the prize when a stash inadvertently goes AWOL. Right up my street then!

Interesting characters abound - Clyde runs a car hire business and ships drugs around the state under the cover of his business. His wife is heavily pregnant and a bit of drug money might help the family financials. Clyde loves his wife, but his idea for some extra cash puts his family in jeopardy.

Brent works for him and inadvertently rents the wrong vehicle to the wrong customer. Clyde's at the hospital with his wife and the drugs are now heading off into the distance. Brent's in trouble with Clyde and Clyde takes advantage of Brent's better nature to have him track down the vehicle while the architect of it all holds his wife's hand in hospital.

Sean is a hen-pecked husband and he's had enough. His wife and kids are stressing him to breaking point, or is it the fact that he's embezzled money from his employer and is only days away from discovery. A trip to his in-laws isn't going to help the situation. Discovering the drugs in his hire car, might give him an opportunity to profit and get out of a hole.

Skeeter is a douche-bag and recovering the drugs for the boss man may elevate him up the organisation's career ladder. A bit trigger-happy and not the smartest tool in the box; he is funny as hell to read about.

I really liked the energy in the book, the characters, the pacing, the lurching from one misadventure to the next, the shifting of sympathies as characters that annoyed me at one point I was rooting for further on in our tale.

Over Their Heads was a fun read - unfolding frenetically with ample doses of humour, violence and general mayhem.  I do like a bit of drug-dealing going awry in my books. The more mishaps and misadventure the better.

Not everyone is going to come out of this one well.
  
Well that's how I remember it.

4.5 from 5

Mr Beetner I've read and enjoyed before with about a dozen from him still to enjoy. I was a JB Kohl reading virgin before this one. I do have another collaboration of theirs to enjoy at some point in the future - One Too Many Blows to the Head. Looking forward to it.

Read in May, 2016
Published - 2015
Page count - 291
Source - purchased copy
Format - Kindle


8 comments:

  1. It sounds like a really effective setup for a noir novel, Col. And I do like stories where you can see what motivated the characters. It makes them more human.

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    1. Margot, I really liked it. There's a fantastic range of characters in it.

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  2. Thanks so much for posting your thoughts. This book had fallen through the cracks a bit so it's nice to see someone enjoy it!

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    1. ErIc, you're welcome. I'm looking forward to ONE TOO MANY BLOWS and hopefully the one after that at some point. I'll be interested in seeking out any further collaborations with JB!

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  3. That does sound good, if dark. I'm always interested in the idea of a book by two authors - how does that work?

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    1. If I can persuade Eric Beetner to do a Q+A I'll ask him. I'll wait until I've read something more recent from him before chancing my arm.

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  4. Not sure about this one. I did see other novels by Beetner that might interest me more. Although all of them seem grittier and darker than I like.

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    1. He does seem to balance them with a sense of fun, though they are far from comedy-crime.

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