Friday, 20 December 2019
DAVE WARNER - EXXXPRESSO (2000)
Rick pulled a folded glossy brochure from his pocket and spread it out. Every time he looked at it, his heart just welled up with joy. It was the Ferrari of espresso machines. Eight cups delivered simultaneously, milk frothed with four times the power of a standard machine...
Rick has his Milano but no wife. His wife Marietta has a lover but no money. Zeen has a life expectancy as short as her skirt. And Guthrie has just shot a pizza delivery boy. Soon Rick has no choice but to drive that Highway to Hell... or Kalgoorlie anyway.
In the richest square mile of dirt in the world a state-of-the-art espresso machine will determine the fate of a bunch of triple-crossing desperados.
"You're right into your coffee man, I'll give you that."
Rick brushed that away. "For me, coffee is a business."
First book of the month finished on the 20th and while it took a while to get through it wasn't because I didn't enjoy the story being told, more my reading mojo had departed for places elsewhere. I tried a few other books to bump start the process but without any success.
An ex-con, a coffee machine and a dream - Rick Boski when he gets out of jail is going to open a coffee shop and make his fortune. Unfortunately in his way is an ex-wife, with a kick-boxing boyfriend, a money lending crim, a pick pocketing hottie turned confidence woman, a big of cash, some missing gold and an assortment of other bad guys, friends and acquaintances. All he needs to overcome is a road trip to Kalgoorlie, with hospital trips, baseball bats, a car accident with a kangaroo, rip offs, kidnaps, guns, religious experiences, drugs, distrust, deceit, double crosses, a heart attack, a fatal accident and a bit more besides.
Humourous undertones to proceedings, plenty of twists as at times Rick our main man seems to be on top of the situation before getting blind-sided by another of the combatants. He's an easy guy to root for, despite his criminal past which is more a tale of misfortune than any desire to live an outlaw lifestyle. If he has a flaw, it's that he's too easy going and trusting with a weakness for a pretty girl that he immediately wants to fall in love with. He does demonstrate a determination and a level of resilience and intelligence to fight for what he wants here.
Overall it's an enjoyable tale of one man's dream and ambition getting sideswiped and thrown off-track by his involvement with a shady money lender and his subsequent efforts to fulfil his destiny. I probably could have done with it being about a 100 pages shorter, though maybe if my reading mood had been more agreeable I may not have noticed the length and it would have flown by.
Interesting cast of characters, enjoyable Australian setting, satisfying outcome. Not one I'd care to re-read or press into the hands of others but more to like than dislike.
3 from 5
Dave Warner has been read before - City of Light (1995) - back in 2016.
A few more from him sit on the pile, including the 2016 Ned Kelly Award winner Before it Breaks.
Read - December, 2019
Published - 2000
Page count - 384
Source - purchased copy direct from the author
Format - paperback