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Key West is afloat in drugs, bars, characters with shady pasts and jaywalking tourists resplendent in newly purchased T-shirts.
Journalist/sailing bum Mad Mick Murphy and his gal pal, attorney Tita, are lucky enough to be walking by when Jay Bruehl, a KWPD snitch, takes a header off the roof of the Hotel Key West. Naturally, Murphy tells a few lies to get inside info on what happened, and before you can say "Hog's Breath Saloon," Murphy is chugging beers with Padre Thomas, who talks to angels, and incurring the wrath of the sheriff, the police chief and various tough guys working for the DEA, the CIA and other federal agencies, although they'd rather keep their ties a secret. Then super-rich Key West honcho Carl Dey asks Murphy to track down his grandson Johnny, who's spent several years hanging out with drug-cartel types. Johnny, it seems, is somehow connected to the death of Bruehl and another DEA agent. Drinks are poured. Secret spooks appear. Padre Thomas sees more angels. Uzis and grenade launchers spew their deadly rounds. Will Murphy take a hit? You betcha—but not before he and various Feds set traps for Columbian drug-runners and turncoats well-hidden within the Key West commissioner's office.
The plethora of gunplay, cafécon leches and authorial silliness maintains the low standard set by Chasing the Wind (2008).
Posted January 5, 2011
Reporter Liam "Mad Mick" Murphy and attorney Rita Toledo go to lunch on what each hopes will prove a romantic interlude. Instead they watch Murphy's waterfront pal Jay Bruehl dive off the roof of the six-story Hotel Key West. A notorious snitch, the late Bruehl recently informed Murphy about a big drug deal. The Hotel Key West happens to host Colombian traffickers discussing importing deadly low grade cocaine though the Keys.
After gaining entrance to the drug meeting, undercover cop Rebecca Connelly vanishes. Guatemalan Father Thomas Collins claims angels informed him where Connelly is being held. They find her battered corpse at the locale the priest said she could be found. The federal, state and local law enforcement officials and the drug cartel target Collins and Murphy. Soon Key West becomes a graveyard as violence turns the Caribbean into a red sea.
The second Mad Mick Key West thriller (see Chasin' the Wind) is a wild over the top of Solares Hill (make that the proposed Miapolis) as once again readers will wonder what is the difference between the good and bad guys as neither seems concerned with collateral damage. The story line is fast-paced with more bullets flying in the Conch Republic than Al Capone ever authorized in Chicago as mad Mick lies to authorities to get the story and obtains reinforcements from a horde of souls even crazier than he is. Fans who ignore plausibility and appreciate that death has become a local growth industry will enjoy the Free Range Institution gunfight at Key West.