From “a rising star in the crime fiction world” ( Hollywood Reporter ), Every Man a Menace is a vital, edgy novel that tells the inside story of a high-stakes ecstasy-smuggling ring.
San Francisco is about to receive the biggest delivery of MDMA to hit the West Coast in years. Raymond Gaspar, just out of prison, is sent by his bosswho is still on the insideto check on the increasingly erratic dealer expected to take care of the drug’s distribution. Meanwhile in Miami, the nightclub owner responsible for getting the ecstasy across the Pacific has just met the girl of his dreamsa Brazilian woman with a man’s name who can’t seem to keep her story straight. And thousands of miles away, in Bangkok, someone farther up the supply chain is about to make a phone call that will put all their lives at risk. Stretching from the Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia to the Golden Gate of San Francisco, Every Man a Menace offers an unflinching account of the making, moving, and selling of the drug known as Molly.
Patrick Hoffman is a writer and private investigator based in Brooklyn. His first novel, The White Van , was a finalist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award. He was born in San Francisco and worked there as an investigator for a decade, both privately and at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office.
Read an Excerpt
They relocated David Eban, the man they’d been using in Belgium, to San Francisco. He’d be in charge of picking up the frozen squid. He was a good workerquiet and sober. All he had to do was drive to a fish warehouse in Oakland, hand a slip of paper to a Chinese kid who worked for Fariq’s organization, and throw the squid into his van. From there, he’d take it to a place he’d rented in Fremont, put it on the ground, and come back the next day, when it had thawed. Then he’d open it up and pull out the vacuum-sealed loaves of drugs. I used to love squid, he told them later. I can’t eat it anymore.
In those early days, Eban drove across the country once a month. He’d pack the drugs into a false compartment in the trunk of his SUV, hang a cross from his mirror, set the cruise control to just below the speed limit, and leave some toys gift wrapped on the backseat. San Francisco to Miamifour days of driving. After a while, though, these trips bothered Semion and Isaakthey were clearly the most exposed element of their plan. What they needed was a buyer in California.
Every Man a Menace: A Novel 5 out of 5based on
6 months ago
I heard a Ringer podcast interview with the author and was impressed so I bought his book.
The story takes place over a few weeks in the lives of partners in an illegal drug supply chain. A huge shipment of MDMA is coming into San Francisco, the first of many planned, setting off a chain of cause and effect from Burma to Miami, upsetting long-standing smooth operations, leading normally cool players to make hasty decisions, exaggerating the effects of what would have been trivial mistakes, and sweeping up major criminals and bit players in a violent reorganization (sometimes elimination) of relationships that they cannot walk away from.
The situation would all have been easy enough to sort out except that none of the players trusts any of the others and the penalty for misplaced trust is likely an early death. Lies are detected but liars cannot be confronted since it's best to let them think they're getting away with it. Each character senses a trap but no one is sure who has set it or how it will be sprung. Hence, "every man a menace".
It's a face-paced tightly written crime story that bounces between character POV and exposition. None of the characters is deeply drawn and no one changes during the story although their situations do. The entertainment is in the interactions of the subplots and how the author depicts the characters' growing fears, frustrations, and suspicions, and, in the end, helplessness in the face of events they cannot see coming until it is too late. In the end, just to wake up in the morning is a victory.
I don't read often in this genre and I enjoyed it.
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