Buzz Monkey

Buzz Monkey

5.0 3
by Sam Hill

Top Kiernan has been doing all right. He owns Polymath, a thriving research firm which he runs from his home—the 1930s-era schoolhouse he's renovating just outside of Athens, Georgia. He's got a bedroom in a basketball court, a handful of flannel shirts, and a splendid collection of tops. He also has a serious habit: Top is addicted to the adrenaline buzz

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Top Kiernan has been doing all right. He owns Polymath, a thriving research firm which he runs from his home—the 1930s-era schoolhouse he's renovating just outside of Athens, Georgia. He's got a bedroom in a basketball court, a handful of flannel shirts, and a splendid collection of tops. He also has a serious habit: Top is addicted to the adrenaline buzz of danger, though periodic perilous errands to Latin America for Shaw's Mercantile help him handle that. Only now Top's long-best friend, Dee Lane, has disappeared with a fortune that belongs to Atlanta drug lord Raoul Menes. And in Buzz Monkey's shifty world of hazardous secrets and hostile camps, Top finds himself the target not merely of Menes but also of ambitious DEA agents, a retired IRA assassin and his heavily armedaughter, a gang of meth-cooking rednecks, an urbane CIA recruiter, and two hired killers in sharkskin suits because everyone thinks Dee left the money with him. Top knows he is working against time and it's going to take more than adrenaline to survive the maneuvers of all the players in the dangerous game that this deftly plotted debut novel brings unpredictably to a stunning, just, and explosive finish.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
… Top has style and his first outing -- a brutal, body-littered and otherwise fun-loving adventure in which the objective is to beat out two gangs of rival dope dealers for a missing swag of $1.5 million -- is loaded with juice. — Marilyn Stasio
Publishers Weekly
In this fun, fast-paced first novel set in Athens, Ga., Top Kiernan has two jobs: he's head of Polymath, an Internet research company run from his home-a former elementary school building where his bedroom is located in the old gym, handy for pick-up basketball games with pals-and he works undercover for Shaw's, "the world's leading booking agency for mercenaries, bodyguards, and probably worse." Top not only collects tops but spins like the best of them, an adrenaline addict who takes unnecessary risks for the rush, a buzz monkey on his way to becoming a buzz junkie. And that's his problem. Shaw's won't employ him after he made a mess of his last few jobs. When his best friend, Dee Lane, a dealer in contraband, disappears, a drug baron to whom Dee owes money thinks Top can locate Dee or at least the cash. With two associates killed and a third held hostage, Top has his work cut out for him. Like cartoon characters who get repeatedly smashed to the ground but pop up (mostly) unharmed, Top and his sidekick, Benny, just keep going, as they dodge the assorted lawmen and bad guys in pursuit, usually along Georgia highways and venturing as far as Florida. Those who like a lot of action will enjoy this witty, rollicking debut. Agent, Philip Spitzer. (Sept. 15) Forecast: As the author of such advertising books as Sixty Trends in Sixty Minutes and Radical Marketing, Hill seems well poised to promote the novel, which ought to appeal to fans of Carl Hiaasen and other outr Florida crime writers. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Ad exec Hill's first novel sets a thrill-seeking researcher against an angry druglord, the DEA, a family of killers, and just about everybody else in the Georgia hills. The thriving firm of Polymath, Inc., which fields 200 reference queries a day, is only a front for the real source of Top Kiernan's sizable income. Top's been working as a mercenary for Shaw's Mercantile, a retrieval specialist who grabs money and people away from bad guys who grabbed them first. But now Shaw's has put him out to pasture because his boundless appetite for adrenaline highs is turning him into a loose cannon. No problem, though, since Colombian regional coke distributor Raoul Menes guarantees Top steady work a lot closer to home. Menes's latest deal with Top's old friend Dee Lane, who ordinarily sticks to the straight and narrow as a dope smuggler, has disappeared, leaving Menes with no money, no product, and a red face. Since drug kingpins can't afford a red face, Menes goes after Top, telling him that even if Dee Lane didn't leave the money with Top, he'd better find it anyway, and having one of Polymath's researchers killed to underscore his point. It's just the ticket to keep Top's motor revving as his more risk-averse associates, from bantam Polymath secretary Benny Culpepper to Vinyl Man, Dee Lane's partner in Groovology, trail in his wake. Guaranteed to give a Top-like buzz to the most jaded action fans. Agent: Philip Spitzer

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Product Details

Avalon Publishing Group
Publication date:
Otto Penzler Books Series
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.37(h) x 1.08(d)

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Buzz Monkey 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Buzz Monkey' is a very well crafted, fast paced novel. For flow and excitement Buzz Monkey is as un-put-downable as Patterson's 'Kiss the Girls' for plot, characters and even its head-on no-nonsense take on racism. It also brought to mind Wolfe's 'A Man In Full'; with the its cast of Georgia 'crackers'--and internationalists--setting the scene for social commentary on our age of greed and excess. Above all this book is simply a fun read, and the reader can certainly indulge Sam Hill's tendency to show-off his polymathiacal bent.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a book! This being my first review and seeing the professional reviews that are already posted for this new mystery that give a very good idea of the basic framework, I'll limit my attempt to a few first impressions and opinions. The main character of the novel, Top Kiernan, is an interesting and original creation who is not too dark and not too light, but with elements of both in his makeup. His somewhat shady background coupled with a quick and nearly encyclopedic wit allows for some snappy dialogue and unexpected but liberally applied and welcome humor in an otherwise tense and exciting mystery-adventure. The 'buzz' that drives him becomes a nearly lethal overdose for Top and his friends and a very lethal overdose for some of his antagonists. Top was set up to take the fall for a rip-off and the clock is ticking throughout on his efforts to discover who set him up and why before it is too late for the people he cares about. The best modern mystery writers seem to have a talent for creating supporting characters as interesting and edgy as the 'hero' and Mr. Hill is no exception with the very dangerous Benny the Blade(who should have his own book). Top's world and the people who inhabit it exist in both black and white and shades of gray with 'Who CAN you trust?' being the question of the day, one that remains unanswered until the end of the story. This is a book that I strongly recommend for mystery fans and anyone else addicted to the adrenaline 'buzz' of danger.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a mystery/action thrill-ride that kept me on the edge of my seat from one page to the next. Nearly as addictive as Top Kiernan's 'buzz', BUZZ MONKEY was impossible to put down. The players in this novel, from Top to Benny to Vinyl Man and all the rest, were interesting, well-written and, best of all, believable. The pressure seems to mount from page to page, with just the right amount of humor to break the tension when you need it most and expect it least, as you rush headlong toward an exciting and fitting conclusion. This novel has it all, from humor to action to mystery with characters and settings that are unique and enjoyable. These were people I began to care about early in the story and the feeling that I knew these people, or wish I did, grew throughout the book. I hope Mr. Hill has some more Tops to spin. I think it's time to start my own collection.