Reviewed by Fran Lewis
by Paddy Bostock
Little league games can become quite heated. Coaches argue. Team members yell and scream. Parents forget they are adults. As our narrator tells the story, relates the events topping off with some named Gene who seems to have a bad stomach and is regurgitating, the end result will cause a chain of events that will take readers from the UK to the United States and back again in a case that starts with a glove that contains a bloody, severed hand with pieces or bits of carpal bone still attached. But, who would do such a thing? Is this for real or is there some reason that our narrator, Jake Flintlock was the lucky one who found this? Hand in Glove is a different type of mystery that will make you wonder whether a comedy team such as Abbot and Costello wrote the script, acted it out in order to elicit the laughs readers will get when reading this book. The characters are quite different and yet all they want to do is solve the case but not before some other wild and zany things happen.
So, poor Jake finds the hand and is approached by a young teen named Clyde offering him the use of his cell phone to call the police. But, let’s not forget the star of the book, his dog Binkey whose mischievous ways will endear you to him even more than the characters. Married to a shrink who dealt with some real crazy loonies of her own, Claudia’s professional career centers around bankers that are both bonus-culture confused and enrolled “ on her seminal and gobsmacking profitable, six-month twelve step post –Freudian, CBT program,” affordable at a mere ten thousand pounds per capita. To learn about the rest you have to read page 15. The dialogue is quite different and some might be hard to follow. Dealing with the police was not a simple task as Jake was considered a suspect and needed to be ruled out. But, there is much more to this complicated story. A mystery that will make you stop and wonder just where the author is going with the action, the plot and then something odd happens when Jake and his partner Bum, yes you heard me, Bum, decide to learn more about this glove and become embroiled, snared and hogtied into more than just the case of where the glove came from and who put it there and why.
From writing crime fiction to becoming a PI with his rich and famous partner, Bum Park, Hand in Glove have characters that would make an Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmes novel pale in comparison. Jake is married to as I said Claudia who is smart, Italian and has tons of money. Bum, half North Korean and half Afro American, comes from LA and runs a highly successful restaurant in London. So, what are these two directly opposites doing? Taking Binkey for one of his walkies in the park, which happens to have kids playing baseball during a little league game, the dog gets loose and you guessed it finds the mitt. But, that’s not the most of it. Meet Chuck Cinzano who carefully, methodically and very sneakily plants this glove, causing them to want to learn more, then fakes his own murder, enlists the help of actors to take him away in an ambulance pretending that he is stabbed to death near Jake’s home. But, in order to uncover the truth about what is really happening, Chuck makes sure that Jake contacts his brother Butch, forcing him to go to California, find his boat and then the fun really begins. Imagine being tricked or conned to go to California in order to guard Chuck’s son Clyde who both the FBI and CIA suspects are being a terrorist. But, that’s not all of it. Next we feel the point of arrows as the investigation leads them to the Cutty Sark Chuck’s Boat, threatening messages, more arrows shot and then the startling reveal. The thrust of the investigation takes on many different paths as Bum and Jake learn why Chuck faked his own death, the reasons behind the deception and the blackmail attempt to get them there. Bum has a problem that gets him into trouble and if his significant other finds out she might wind up not slightly disabled in a delicate area. But, there is more when you meet Chuck’s ex-wife, her new husband Toni who Chuck impales on the mast of the boat to teach him lesson he most painfully will never forget. Added in the slew of arrows that comes hailing down like ice balls at them but you will never guess why?
Each scene is filled with the unexpected, the wild and the strange. Chuck’s family alone will keep readers busy wondering just how you keep track of all of them. There is Clyde his son. Su-Ann his ex-wife, Toni, her new not worth it husband, her daughter Immy whose favorite word is Yippie and his father Jackson, his new wife Julia and tons more that you will have to learn for yourself in order to enjoy the ride or the fun.Staging his death, deleting any respect Jake might have had for him, dealing with a son who needs help, wants to denounce God, a father whose wife has roving hands not only on Jake but on Bum, this story gets wilder by the page. Throughout each chapter the author recaps the main points for readers in case you are lost so when he reminds everyone on page 284 about the promise the Bum made to Chuck the blackmail pact. So, who is behind the messages, the arrows and the threats? Who decided to kidnap Su-Ann? Just how would they find the guy with the license plate A1Sam DFWM? The answers will be found when you take the ride along with Jake and Bum in a private jet filled with every luxury and then find yourself at the mercy of killers, muggers and then …. Just when you think their problems are over and they catch a kidnapper the odd, the strange and the unusual happens: They get arrested and the rest you won’t get from me because you have to read the interrogation, learn the outcome, find out if Marthe learns the truth about Bum and his loose zipper. Meet Darlin/Darlene the police sergeant and find out just who is behind the kidnapping, arrows, threats and more. Wait until you learn what happens when Jake returns home. Does Claudia greet him with hugs, fanfare and champagne? What happens if priceless and only author Paddy Bostock provides a mystery quite different than any other I have ever read with characters that are colorful, loyal to each other and where friendship, honesty and trust outweigh common sense, murder and mystery.