Tom Davin is a Brooklyn insurance investigator in a jam. His girlfriend split
and stuck him with four cats and a debt to a ruthless loan shark. He arranges an
art theft to cover the debt - only somebody swipes the paintings from his crew.
Now the insurance company wants him to investigate his own art theft. Now the
local bookie is making threats. Now his crew in the neighborhood is targeted by
a sniper. Now both the mob and the cops think he’s the shooter. Six-foot-six
Tommy nimbly navigates his troubles and Brooklyn with the help of tantric yoga,
his father’s aphorisms and a comely masseuse. But the question remains: do good
things happen to good people? The answer lurks in a fiery Brooklyn scrap yard.
Readers are in for a wild ride from the first page of Wiprud’s latest novel,
which feels equal parts classic noir and modern crime novel, with wise-cracking,
fedora-wearing characters and a modern industrial setting. The story has a
unique premise, and Wiprud has a great talent for layering just enough
complexity onto a central mystery, building suspense to the point where readers
might turn the page with one hand while shielding their eyes with another, and
for connecting all the dots with Christie-like panache.
Tommy Davin recovers stolen art
for insurance companies, but his ill-advised love for a Las Vegas chorus girl
has left him owing a dangerous Brooklyn loan shark more money than he can repay.
So he commissions an art theft that goes wrong, and the insurer hires him to
recover the missing paintings. Soon, the people he approaches in his
investigation are being killed by a sniper, and Tommy may be next—if the loan
shark doesn’t get him first. Like Wiprud’s excellent Feelers (2009), the setting
is Brooklyn. Countless writers have used the borough as a locale, but few invest
it with the kind of flaky denizens Wiprud creates. Tommy is a giant who worries
about his karma, uses tantric yoga exercises to manage stress, and fancies Latin
bands led by Xavier Cugat and Perez Prado. His barber is an ancient Italian who
reminisces about slitting customers’ throats for the Black Hand. His masseuse,
Delilah, dispenses common-sense psychotherapy and preaches the “power of
possibility.” His assailant is a lovelorn Russian assassin. Buy Back is a
strange, entertaining, comic brew.
Wiprud, the author of the
acclaimed Feelers and a series about taxidermist Garth Carson (Pipsqueak,
Stuffed ), has created another memorable protagonist in one of the most exciting
crime fiction novels this year. Let's hope we see more of Tommy Davin.
Website copyright 2016 Brian M. Wiprud. Website by Dovetail Studio.