Group Of Catholic Schoolmates Grow Up Taking Different Paths
By Scott E. High VINE VOICE on July 15, 2015
This is the second novel in the Jack McCoul series written by Dwight Holing. It was offered to me for free in exchange for an honest review–and after reading BAD KARMA I wish that he had offered me his first book when it became available. Dwight Holing obviously has a gift for describing scenes, developing characters, and tossing in just enough misinformation to take you on alternate routes that run parallel to his final destination.
Jack McCoul and his crew of misfits attended Catholic school together at St. Joseph’s in San Francisco. As they grew older, most of them took different paths: Jack and Bobby Ballena became grifters, choosing the challenges, adrenaline rush, and monetary rewards of making a score over the potential harsh punishment of prison; Hark put his Hispanic heritage to work building and customizing low riders; and Terry Dolan, the school’s star athlete, became a cop like his old man. While these guys didn’t necessarily like each other, they shared a grudging respect since each had survived a relatively tough upbringing. Throw in Wonder Boy, a lisping bartender with the skills of a mathematical savant, a rotund criminal attorney nicknamed “Broadass”, a highfaluting patent attorney named Winston Cheatham, an ultra wealthy venture capitalist named Dexter Cotswold, two long suffering personal assistants, a plethora of young coders. two stunning new age young wives, a pair of Eastern European hit men, and bingo–you’ve got a party!
Highly sarcastic and cynical, most of the humor came from the characters slinging insults at one another. God help those who couldn’t defend themselves. Most of the action took place in the wealthier parts of San Francisco yet many of its diverse neighborhoods were described and a few became part of the story. Ethnic and moral diversity abounded, a virtual cornucopia of gang bangers, Triads, Hispanics, Indians (non-native), Irish cops and firemen, the aforementioned Eastern Europeans and sloppy young coders, health fanatics and corpulent over eaters, hybrid/electric cars and gas guzzlers, sex both straight and gay–traditional and kinky, all-in-all a pretty good description of San Francisco and its denizens (apologies in advance to anyone left out).
So what we have here is an entertaining novel that leaves you guessing until the very end, written by an up-and-coming (and gifted) story teller. Dwight Holing has created a cast of memorable (and imperfect) characters who will no doubt be pulling shenanigans for a long time coming. You won’t be disappointed by adding him to your reading list. This author deserves a larger audience.