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Free Range Institution: A Mick Murphy Key West Mystery Paperback – February 10, 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
Haskins's second Mick Murphy Key West mystery (after 2008's Chasin' the Wind) offers more gunfights than developed characters. On their way to a romantic lunch, journalist Murphy and his sometime girlfriend, attorney Tita Toledo, see Murphy's waterfront friend, Jay Bruehl, fall to his death from the roof of six-story Hotel Key West. Bruehl, a snitch, had tipped Murphy off about a big drug deal—and Hotel Key West was the site for a meeting of some Colombian traffickers. When Rebecca Connelly, an undercover cop who infiltrated the traffickers' meeting, goes missing, a Guatemalan priest, Thomas Collins, insists that angels have told him where to find Connelly. After Connelly turns up dead in the exact spot the padre named, both he and Murphy come under official scrutiny. Readers should be prepared for a stock plot with de rigueur corrupt officials and brushes with death. (Feb.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Mick Murphy, the newshawk hero of Haskins’ latest Key West mystery, makes a classic reporter goof. He pretends to be a little closer to the action than he really is. Both good and bad guys take him at his word, and the chase is on. At the heart of it all is a plot to bring a particularly cheap and addictive drug called paco into the U.S. As the good guys assemble behind Mick and check their guns, echoes of Miami Vice reverberate, with both its pastel glitz and its underlying despair. The cartels have more money and guns; the best the rest of us can do is hold together. Things get lively as the confrontation approaches, but this really isn’t a high-concept action novel or even a stripped-down thriller. It’s about adult relationships, and its generous use of the Key West setting will appeal to readers who like local color. Since it’s the Keys, a lot of beer and rum goes down, and there’s much eating of cheeseburgers, dolphin sandwiches, and breakfast eggs with hot sauce. --Don Crinklaw --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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By: Michaels Haskins
Copyright February 2011
Publisher Five Star
When journalist Liam "Mick" Murphy lies to the chief of police in order to get a story, he uncovers a conspiracy to smuggle a cheap, lethal cocaine-based drug through Key West. Before long, local authorities, federal agents and drug cartel hit men are looking for Murphy because of what they think he knows. With help from an eclectic group of friends, including an old black[ops acquaintance from Central America, Murphy sets out to prove who's behind the smuggling plot and distance himself from the violence that has spawned havoc on the island.
Soon, Key West starts to look like the Wild West as bodies are scattered in the streets and businesses get shot up. Murphy and his ragtag army do their best to survive and strike back, but stopping the drug delivery becomes impossible when the smugglers outgun Murphy's crew in a grisly battle on the water. Back in Key West, Murphy escapes more mayhem and confronts the conspirators, with devastating results.
Liam "Mick" Murphy had a career in journalism that took him all over the world. After a devastating event cause him to quit full time reporting, he semi retired to the Florida Keys. There he works as a free lance writer and journalist for hire. A phone call from a friend causes him to be caught at the sight of that friend's demise. He knows he shouldn't lie to the cops, he knows that it will only come back to bite him in the rear. But he does it anyway because he also knows that his friend's death is not a suicide.
Within days of his friend Jay Bruels' death he is caught up in what turns out to be a very nasty murder and conspiracy operation by elected local officials, bought Federal Agents and a South American Drug cartel. These people were using the Keys as their entry point to bring their drugs into the country, and now they also wanted to bring in an extremely cheap and extremely deadly new drug.
Mick and his on again off again girl friend Tita Toledo (a very sought after attorney) are going to have their lives and their relationship stretched well past the breaking point. With the help of a rag tag group of friends, (who by some coincidence are all agents, former agents) plan and run their own investigation into the murders and drugs. There will be shoot outs, high speed boat chases, and well... You'll just have to read the book to find out who does what to whom, and who wins out at the end.
This was my first taste of a Mad Mick Murphy book and I love it. Mick reminds me a little of Travis McGee what with the way he gets involved in things and helping friends. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this series for as long as the author offers stories to read.
Lest you think this is all you need to know about Haskins' second major mystery ( the first being CHASIN' THE WIND, with others appearing as short stories in mystery magazines) and decide not to read it (which would be a grave error of judgment), the location of this indolent meandering is Key West, Florida where, to many, the above life style is considered social climbing. Please believe this reviewer, if you remember visiting Key West, you weren't there.
The image of Key West is an island at the end of civilization, existing because and in spite of its history as a haven for pirates, drug smugglers, and lurid bacchanalia nervously existing cheek by jowl with unique architecture, historic sites, fine art, a wide variety of great cuisine, and some of America's most fascinating history.
Into this mix Haskins' characters are thrown. MAD MICK, a personage of dubious intellect but irrepressible enthusiasm for a news story and unbridled loyalty to his friends (in his own fashion) finds himself being dragged deeper and deeper into the "EVIL" that attempts to envelop Key West. With flying bodies and floating bodies, friends and enemies as law enforcement officials, government agents that mysteriously show up to aid in the saving of this city from the greed and cruelty of "EVIL" forces from within and without, a sometimes girlfriend who abhors what is happening but somehow can't seem to stay uninvolved, a priest of questionable sanity and history, and a whole pile of evildoers, the story takes twists and turns that assure the reader will find it difficult to stop reading, even to go to the fridge to get the next beer. MAD MICK'S background prior to coming to Key West is shrouded in secrecy partially revealed in drips and drabs to tantalize the reader (we shall probably not know the whole story until the tenth MAD MICK MYSTERY when Haskins will be too old to write any more and might as well give it all up).
The real star of the story is Key West. For those who have lived there or visited a number of times, Haskins has recreated in accurate detail the bars, restaurants, clubs, buildings, culture, and characters that make up the feel of a city so different that all want to return. As MICK travels around the small city, it is almost as though the reader is walking, riding a bike, sitting in the open jeep with him and experiencing the sights and sounds that are integral to this totally unique place.
If you have never been to Key West, before you have read too many pages, you will want to go. You will feel the need to smell the bougainvillaea, have a fish sandwich fresher than your last erotic thought, see the buskers at the daily sunset celebration, and feel the warmth of the sun during the day and the cool of the ubiquitous entertainment at night. While there, be sure to check out the local car wash. You never know when you might hear of it again.
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You would think the author, having seen the claims that his book is full of typos, misspellings, & poor grammar, would care enough about his...Read more