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Is Harry Rigby heading for a fall? Jan 7, 2005
Favoring the term "research consultant" over "investigator," Harry Rigby scratches out a living tailing unfaithful spouses and selling sordid stories to the newspapers. This particular Christmas season finds him in way over his head, as two investigations-one into the stabbing death of the wife of a prominent politician, the other into the extracurricular of a cheating housewife-converge. Adding to his troubles, he must deal with a less than idyllic love life, his drinking, and the reappearance of his ex-con brother Gonzo in his life.
Brimming with action and black humor, Eight Ball Boogie is an auspicious debut for Irish journalist Burke, a novel sure to elicit as many winces as laughs. Rigby has an uncanny talent for finding trouble and surviving a beating, which is fortunate, in light of how many thrashings he receives over the course of a few hours. Slacker Rigby is joined by an equally intriguing supporting cast, including his associate Herbie, caustic girlfriend Denise, and brutal police detectives Brady and Galway. All seem to exist primarily to complicate Harry's life, making for intriguing reading.
Eight Ball Boogie proves to be that rare commodity, a first novel that reads as if it were penned by a writer in mid-career. Burke is in full control the entire way, providing a plethora of witty one- liners and a couple of action sequences so tense and well rendered they'll leave you breathless. A fun, satisfying read, Eight Ball Boogie marks the arrival of a new master of suspense on the literary scene.