Fin Finnegan, a San Diego police detective and wannabe actor heading straight for a midlife meltdown, is assigned a routine truck theft that turns into a toxic chemical spill, setting off a bizarre chain reaction of death and murder on both sides of the Mexican border. Fin is forced to team up with Nell Salter, a sexy female investigator, as well as an equally fetching US Navy investigator who wants to learn all that Fin can teach her—and that’s saying a lot. The New York Times Book Review called it “a frolic, a ...
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Finnegan's Week

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Fin Finnegan, a San Diego police detective and wannabe actor heading straight for a midlife meltdown, is assigned a routine truck theft that turns into a toxic chemical spill, setting off a bizarre chain reaction of death and murder on both sides of the Mexican border. Fin is forced to team up with Nell Salter, a sexy female investigator, as well as an equally fetching US Navy investigator who wants to learn all that Fin can teach her—and that’s saying a lot. The New York Times Book Review called it “a frolic, a joy, a hoot, a riot of a book.” And Entertainment Weekly said, “superbly crafted and paced, deliciously funny, but fundamentally, as always, deadly serious.”

Premier crime fiction writer Joseph Wambaugh has written one of his most tension-filled stories yet. In a rollercoaster ride of doublecrosses and murder amidst the drug dealers, sleazemongers and black marketeers of Southern California and Tijuana, a San Diego police detective searches for a deadly killer: a 55-gallon drum of the toxic chemical Guthion.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Wambaugh ( Fugitive Nights ) is at the top of his form here and probably destined for another visit to the bestseller lists. His cop characters are marvelous as usual, deftly characterized in dialogue, attitude (much of it political this time, as the setting is last year's presidential election) and behavior. Even tertiary characters, whether good guys or bad, are skillfully drawn. The villain of the piece is Jules Temple, the son of a wealthy lawyer who takes up the toxic waste business after being disinherited. In Mexico, two of Temple's truck drivers dump a shipment of a lethal pesticide and then decide to rob the Navy base where they were supposed to make a pickup. This brings matters to the attention of an unlikely threesome: Nell Salter, a DA Investigator into environmental crimes; Bobbie Ann Doggett, a young Navy command investigator; and Finbar Finnegan, a San Diego police detective who'd rather be an actor. The women, each in her own way, almost make Fin forget the thrice-married misery of his past. It's a raunchy and often hilarious tale as Fin, Nell and Bobbie Ann try to sort things out until justice is finally served up in a most fitting manner. 300,000 first printing; major ad/promo; BOMC alternate; author tour. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
YA-The owner of a waste-hauling firm shaves costs by mislabeling drums of highly toxic pesticide and dumping them illegally. When two deaths result, Fin Finnegan teams up with civilian and Navy investigators to solve the series of related crimes. Wambaugh fans expect a fast-paced plot, gritty and colorful characters, sex, rough language, and bloody fights. They'll find it all here, plus a subtly woven environmental message.-Judy Sokoll, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Emily Melton
Readers expecting Wambaugh's usual hard-core, inside-the-cop-shop story will be surprised, shocked, perhaps entertained, and possibly appalled by his latest, which is a combination of truly tasteless humor, dialogue, and characters, offset--to some extent--by an inventive plot and plenty of action. The story: two drivers for an environmental-waste-disposal company decide to take a little extra cargo (2,000 pairs of Navy-issue boots) when they pick up a load of environmental waste at a California Navy depot. They take the boots, waste, and truck to Mexico, where they plan to sell the boots and report the truck stolen. The cavalier thieves don't think twice about the fate of the waste, which, unknown to them, is deadly toxic. Once the robbery and its deadly side effects are uncovered, the San Diego P.D. and the Navy send in three investigators to solve the crime. The action includes fights in bars, ambushes in warehouses, and ambushes in bed. The bad dialogue is right out of like, uh, ya know, a singles bar ("Okay, let's talk about "me".") And the bad taste manifests itself in sleazy characters, gross four-letter words, and crude phrases that really don't add much to the story. The humor? Well, sometimes it is hilarious, but mostly it's just painful. Still, despite the book's many flaws, the story's sheer energy somehow pulls the reluctant reader along its crude but eventful path. And the Wambaugh name on the cover is certain to draw a crowd.
Kirkus Reviews
After a so-so show in Fugitive Nights (1991), Wambaugh returns nearly in top form with a very funny suspenser about toxic waste. Finbar Finnegan, a San Diego police detective and sometime actor, has a midlife crisis at 45, his existence having been dominated by three sisters while growing up and by three ex-wives as an adult. His theme song is "Someone to Watch Over Me"—he needs a mommy/wife, has sworn off marriage, but finds himself tied ticklingly to two female detectives at once, both of whom see him as romantically interesting despite immense shortcomings: happy, cheerful, pistol-packing Petty Officer "Ba-a-d Dog" Bobbie Ann Doggett, 28, an investigator for the Navy who's looking for 2,000 boots hijacked from a warehouse; and District Attorney's Investigator Nell Salter, 43, once divorced, and looking for a stolen truck filled with supertoxic waste. The truck actually was "stolen" by its tow drivers—porky meth-head Shelby Pate and his Mexican sidekick, Abel Durazo, who lifted the boots while picking up drums of toxic waste at a naval station, took them to a fence in Tijuana, then pretended their truck was stolen while they ate lunch. The truck, however, gets sold to a Mexican pottery maker, who repaints uses it to deliver pots to San Diego. During all this, the waste drums still on the truck spill horrible Guthion over two kids, killing one of them. In their investigation, the three San Diego law folk wind up in weirdest Tijuana for some surreal surveillance duty—and have a punchy pair of drunk scenes that show Wambaugh at his cleverest in the sexy, gin-soaked Nick & Nora Department. Smart, crunchy dialogue—too topical, yes, but for now quite witty enough.(First printing of 300,000)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781453234211
  • Publisher: MysteriousPress.com/Open Road
  • Publication date: 11/29/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 340
  • Sales rank: 235,590
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

The son of a policeman, Joseph Wambaugh (b. 1937) began his writing career while a member of the Los Angeles Police Department. He joined the LAPD in 1960 after three years in the Marine Corps, and rose to the rank of detective sergeant before retiring in 1974. His first novel, The New Centurions (1971), was a quick success, drawing praise for its realistic action and intelligent characterization, and was adapted into a feature film starring George C. Scott. He followed it up with The Blue Knight (1972), which was adapted into a mini-series starring William Holden and Lee Remick. Since then Wambaugh has continued writing about the LAPD. He has been credited with a realistic portrayal of police officers, showing them not as superheroes but as men struggling with a difficult job, a depiction taken mainstream by television’s Police Story, which Wambaugh helped create in the mid-1970s. In addition to novels, Wambaugh has written nonfiction, winning a special Edgar Award for 1974’s The Onion Field, an account of the longest criminal trial in California history. His most recent work is the novel Hollywood Moon (2010).
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