Buzz Monkeyby 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… See more details below
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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'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.
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.
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.