Your Friendly Neighborhood Criminal
Review: Ex-con Monty Haaviko is not actively looking for work — staying at home babysitting his own son plus a few other children of working families is driving him crazy though — but takes an interest in a potential job of planning a crime, if not actually intending to participate in it, in Your Friendly Neighborhood Criminal, the second mystery in this series by Michael Van Rooy.
Marie Blue Duck is trying to save the lives of the oppressed overseas by coordinating their illegal immigration into the United States. She arranges for them to legally enter via a tourist visa into Canada, then quietly helps them disappear once they're in the country. Well, that's her plan anyway. She's contracted with a few men to actually do the transport, but before she begins, she wants Monty to offer an opinion on her strategy. He doesn't think much of it, shoots it full of holes (as it were), and proposes his own scheme. Of course that attracts the attention of an outside force — and then it gets complicated …
The author does a remarkable job in getting inside the head of a career criminal, albeit a self-described reformed one, letting the reader know not only how he goes about his "work", but why he does so. Quite frankly, it's a little unnerving how specifically written it is … which is both this book's strongest point but also its primary weakness. Everything that goes into the meticulous planning of a crime — any crime, since more than one occurs here — is spelled out in fine detail, from opinions about the co-conspirators and contract players to prepping a site to speculations on the outcome. It's really quite fascinating on its own, but together with the various tangential events that Monty participates in — and there are many — it makes for a circuitous plot route. Still, it's not likely readers will stop turning the pages just because the pathway isn't linear, and those that reach the final destination will be rewarded with having read a rather unusual, yet very satisfying crime novel.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of Your Friendly Neighborhood Criminal for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Your Friendly Neighborhood Criminal: Winnipeg, Manitoba
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Your Friendly Neighborhood Criminal by Michael Van Rooy — A Monty Havikko Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: July 2011
List Price: $24.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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