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Mr. Hooligan Hardcover – December 7, 2010

4.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For 20 years, Riley James has been navigating the waters and canals of Belize as a smuggler for the powerful Monsanto brothers, Carlo and Israel, while dreaming of a different life in this engaging stand-alone from Shamus Award–winner Vasquez (Lonesome Point). Now, after one last run for the Monsantos, Riley plans to go into business with longtime friend Harvey Longsworth as co-owner of Lindy's, a Belize City bar, and marry his American girlfriend, Candice--but a simple car accident leads to rapidly escalating trouble. The tension rises as more and more players--corrupt government officials, Mexican drug soldiers, DEA agents--enter the picture. Nimbly keeping a step ahead of traps and betrayals, Riley improvises surprises of his own in increasingly violent confrontations. Vasquez has crafted a crime novel that unfolds like a Greek tragedy with his flawed, unbowed hero bravely facing everything fate throws at him. (Dec.)
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From Booklist

Vasquez’s first novel, In the Heat (2009), set in Belize, fit comfortably within the hard-boiled-detective tradition, but he followed it with a classic noir, Lonesome Point (2009), set in Florida. This time he’s wearing black again, but he returns to Belize. Riley James was “an ordinary guy with a little street in him . . . who got himself into a scrape.” If that sounds like an archetypal description of the noir hero, it is; Riley is yet another likable, fairly smart guy who thinks he can outsmart the inevitable. If he was living in a caper novel, that might be true, but in noir, escape either comes at exorbitant cost or doesn’t come at all. Riley is trying to go straight as a Belize bar owner, but a freak car accident draws him back into the drug-running world and leads to him speaking the words you never want to hear from someone you like: “If I can just do one last job.” Vasquez sticks closely to noir formula, but he plays all the notes with feeling, and the Belize backdrop provides one of the best noir landscapes since Vicki Hendricks turned up the steam at a laundromat (Miami Purity, 1995). --Bill Ott

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (December 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312378114
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312378110
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,728,137 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Christy Tillery French VINE VOICE on December 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Riley James grew up with an alcoholic mother and hustler father who was rarely home. Riley, knowing his way around the rainforest, coastal waters and back roads of Belize, was an easy pick as a smuggler for the Monsanto brothers. Twenty years later, he owns a bar with his good friend Harvey Longworth and has one last run to make before he can call it quits with the Monsantos and enter into a legal life with his American fiancée, Candice. Events spiral out of control beginning with a car accident that pulls Riley into the greedy clutches of corrupt government officials, and no matter how hard Riley tries to make things right, his life is governed by betrayal and violence.

This gritty crime novel moves at a fast pace, building tension and suspense to a surprising end. Vasquez's Elmore Leonardesque writing style guarantees a good read, with well-developed characters and a plot that will not disappoint. Although Riley James is a criminal, he is a likeable, empathetic character and readers will be vested in his attempts to normalize his life. Vasquez's visual descriptive of Belize adds a colorful ambiance, further enriching this intriguing story.
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Format: Hardcover
If you have never read a book by Ian Vasquez, I would ask that you spend the closing days of 2010 doing just that. In only three novels, Vasquez has demonstrated that he has that rare, raw and beautiful ability to suck the air out of the room in the space of a sentence. Would that be enough of a recommendation?

MR. HOOLIGAN, Vasquez's third novel, returns to the familiar and dangerous environs of Belize, so starkly and darkly described in the pages of IN THE HEAT. This award-winning debut introduced an enigmatic and memorable character named Miles Young, who makes an appearance or two in the new book that could be described as something more than a cameo but less than a featured role. Instead, the focus is a middle-aged, semi-legitimate operator named Riley James. The part-owner of a popular Belize City bar, James supplements his income by picking up drug drops for the Monsanto Brothers, a pair of gangsters who are the true power in the city.

As a young man, James committed an error in judgment that would have had life-threatening consequences but for the intervention of the Monsantos. They saved his life, but since that time he has been in their debt, navigating boats through the reefs and channels that he knows so well and functioning as an integral part of their illicit business. James feels that he has reached the end of his rope with the Monsantos. He wants to be out of the business and clear of them so he can start a new life with the woman with whom he has fallen in love.

To cancel his obligation, James wants to do one last run, a major transaction that is fraught with danger. His route to the legitimate life is hardly an easy one, though.
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By A Customer on December 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In Belize, Riley James has worked as a smuggler for Carlo and Israel Monsanto for over two decades; ever since they took care of a deadly mess he was involved in as teen numbers runner. Few, if any, know the inland waterways better than Riley. However, Riley also realizes smuggling is a young man's game; not a middle age pursuit. He is doing his last run for the brothers before retiring as the siblings agree this will wipe out his long standing debt to them.

Riley figures on co-owning Lindy's Bar in Belize City with his friend Harvey Longsworth and marry his American sweetheart Candice. However, his plan goes astray starting with a car accident that has mobsters from Central America and Mexico in it, corrupt local officials especially cops, and DEA agents wanting his hide and what he delivers. A veteran of illegal trafficking, Riley will not go down without a fight.

Mr. Hooligan is superb crime thriller in which Charles Bronson (from Murphy's Law and Mr. Majestyk) would play the lead. Fast-paced from the moment the last run goes wrong, readers will be totally hooked wondering if Mr. Hooligan will survive the gauntlet as betrayals engulf his every step.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover
When he was seventeen, Riley James fatally shot two men and became known as Li`l Hooligan. In exchange for keeping him out of prison, the drug-smuggling Monsanto family enslaved him in a life of crime. Years later, he is part owner of Lindy's bar in the beautiful Central American country of Belize. He has fallen in love with an American neighbor, Candice. Now he wants to do one last drug run for the Monsantos, pay off his debts and leave Belize City with Candice. Unfortunately, a bloodbath ensues as traitors are determined to keep him forever trapped in a life of crime.

Ian Vasquez has written a most excellent Caribbean noir that is positively engrossing. Put aside the violence and what you have in "Mr. Hooligan" is a complex character study of a man who is trapped in a life of crime. The mystery here is whether or not he will be able to flee and begin a normal life. Is Riley James a victim of his environment or has he simply made bad choices throughout his life? His mom was an alcoholic and is father was a hustler of stolen artifacts. However, even though he has a legitimate business, Lindy's, he can't resist the temptation of having an illegal gambling parlor.

Honestly, if I met someone like Riley James I would think they were slimy scum. However, as I read the novel, I grew to admire him. Why? He genuinely cares about his ex-wife Vicky's husband Miguel because he wants his son Duncan to have a happy family with Miguel and Vicky. Riley is good friends with a nun, Sister Patricia Pierce, who looks upon him as a son. He risks his life to save his friends, Harvey and Gertrude Longsworth, who are also co-owners of Lindy's. He is deeply and madly in love with Candice.
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