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Plugged: A Novel Hardcover – September 1, 2011
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"Channeling noir stylists from Raymond Chandler to Elmore Leonard, Eoin Colfer the Irish author of the million-selling "Artemis Fowl" series for teens, goes a little crazy in his head-spinning, hilarious first novel for adults. "Plugged" introduces us to the charismatic Daniel McEvoy, who uses the lethal skills he learned in the Irish army as a strip-club doorman who finds himself in deep sewage with the cops and the Irish mob — thanks to his best friend, a crooked doctor who is giving him hair implants." — – San Antonio Express-News
"Author Eoin Colfer, who created those Artemis Fowl books, lives in Ireland. Again, hair-raising, dark bad boys, crime, events where your wife's brother gets selected 'designated drunk.' Daniel McEvoy's a bouncer, Irish. Like, what else? Lives there a villain who's Norwegian? His girlfriend gets suddenly dead. It's a crooked doctor, menacing homeland mob, seedy New Jersey club, more booze--and such prose as squeezing certain sensitive parts of a male Rottweiler. And Page 264's 'Little virgin Connie didn't want hands on her ass.' Eugene O'Neill it's not. Irish it is." — Cindy Adams, New York Post
"Irish author Colfer, best known for his middle-grade Artemis Fowl series, makes his much anticipated crime novel debut with this pitch-perfect comic noir . . . Outrageous characters, uproariously funny plot twists, and brutal, nonstop action make this a sure-fire winner." — Publishers Weekly, starred review
"The bestselling author of the Artemis Fowl novels dedicates this, his first crime novel for adults, to fellow Irish writer Ken Bruen, who 'made him do it.' The result is an infectious blend of hardboiled lunacy mixed with Celtic black humor that is held together by Colfer's own glorious voice." — Patrick Millikin, The Poisoned Pen, in The Indie Next List
"Eoin Colfer makes his crime fiction debut with a bang… With swift pacing and plenty of twists and turns to keep readers guessing until the very end, Colfer’s crime caper has all the makings of a classic thriller. Daniel tries to hide his insecurities and chivalrous weak spot behind his wry, self-deprecating humor, and his witty voice deftly blends comedy with the noir storytelling. A clever ending leaves room for a sequel and fans clamoring for more of this sensitive Irish rogue." — Foreword Reviews
"Colfer, author of the Artemis Fowl youth series, employs similar techniques in this one--breathless plotting, humor, and wordplay--but he adds a diverse armory of guns, grenades, and stilettos. Fans of Ken Bruen’s hilarious odes to murderous psychopaths will want to get Plugged." — Booklist
"If Carl Hiasson married Raymond Chandler and engaged Dave Barry to be a surrogate mother, Plugged would be the progeny. Oh, grow up! This is a zany crime caper where such things are possible. With the unlikely title--redolent of Chandler's characters being "plugged" with lead bullets--the bestselling author of the Artemis Fowl series makes his hilarious crime fiction debut á la Elmore Leonard. Incredible imagination won't suffice to solve this who-what-and-whydunnit. This five-star story in the vein of Robert Coover's Noir has more twists than a box of rotini pasta." — L. Dean Murphy, Bookreporter.com
"Plugged is a miles-apart transition for the acclaimed young adults' author, as he makes the brave leap to adult fiction--not the easiest of leaps to make, especially if that leap is the wide and dangerous canyon of hardboiled crime where safety nets are as scarce as a Tony Soprano's diet. Thankfully, Mr. Colfer's leap of faith has him landing expertly and solidly on his feet with page-turning ease. Funny, acerbic, crazed, riveting, sardonic--with just the right amount of hard-boiled dialogue--Plugged is everything you want in a summer read." — New York Journal of Books
"Eoin Colfer, primarily known for his children's books featuring Artemis Fowl, shows he can write a terrific crime novel for adults with Plugged . . . Plugged is that rare book that mixes terrific suspense with laugh-out-loud humor. McEvoy and his attitude will appeal to fans of both the crime novels of Elmore Leonard and the wacky characters prevalent in the novels of Carl Hiaasen." — Associated Press
"Keeping New Jersey sleazy, Plugged is full of fake boobs, Irish gangsters, dirty cops, and a sea of salty language. And like a double shot of Jameson on an empty stomach, the buzz comes on quick . . . Colfer's prose is generous with the jokes and nimble with plot twists." — Mystery Scene Magazine
"Compared with that criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl, Dan McEvoy is a bungling idiot. But that's essentially the appeal of Eoin Colfer's first adult protagonist, an expat Irish Army veteran who appears in Plugged . . . lots of bloody fun." — Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
"Colfer makes the transition [to adult literature] with his facility for the delightful Irish turn of phrase intact, even if many of those phrases are saltier this time around . . . the sharp curves come fast and so do the dips that make you feel giddy. Colfer keeps up the furious pace." — The Chicago Sun-Times
"With his new novel Plugged, Colfer makes the transition for YA to fullon adult fiction, with impressive results . . . an adorable mongrel of a book - wildly funny, oddly touching, part caper novel, part mystery . . . Starting the novel is the equivalent of hitting the power switch and holding on for dear life; the narrative builds and folds in on itself, the bodies pile up, the situations get more and more outlandish, and the reader just grins and plays along." — The Vancouver Sun
"Colfer makes his adult crime fiction debut with this tale of Daniel McEvoy, who might be a doorman at a low-rent casino in Cloisters, NJ, but who once upon a time served two tours of active duty in the Irish army. . . The body count rises steadily as Daniel gets himself into various situations both dangerous and hilarious involving good and bad cops, crooked lawyers, barrels of steroids, and assorted mayhem. Carl Hiaasen and Elmore Leonard fans should enjoy this hard-boiled novel with a dash of humor." — Library Journal
"In the journey towards crime fiction, Eoin Colfer is helped by the fact that his children's hero, Artemis Fowl , was a master criminal. The narrator of Plugged is also quite a dodgy dude. This comedy of vanity in an action protagonist alerts us that we are in the territory of comedy crime, in the style of Carl Hiaasen. As he showed with the Artemis Fowl books, Colfer is an engaging and inventive writer with a strong sense of the rhythm of a story, its twists and riffs. Always entertaining page by page, the book also has a truly unexpected sex scene and much sassy dialogue." — The Guardian (UK)
"Colfer's adult crime-fiction debut--after his bestselling Artemis Fowl YA series--introduces a big, brash, bawdy, balding anti-hero." — Kirkus Reviews
"Colfer's first adult crime novel, Plugged is a gloriously ramshackle comedy crime caper. As a narrative vehicle the story is a getaway car careering downhill and losing wheels at every corner. Colfer, however, is too experienced a storyteller to get carried away himself. The propulsive chaos masks a palpable appreciation of the crime novel itself, not simply in terms of his playful subversion of the genre's tropes but also in Colfer's willingness to warp the parameters of what is essentially a conservative narrative form. Successfully blending the subgenres of comedy crime caper and hard-boiled noir is no mean feat, as those who have read Donald Westlake's pale imitators will confirm. Colfer's exuberance in this respect will delight the connoisseurs jaded by crime novels that insist on adhering to a predictable norm. Scabrously funny, furiously paced and distinctively idiosyncratic, Plugged ultimately comes to a belated reconciliation with the genre's conventions, but only after a titanic and entertaining struggle that suggests Colfer's first adult crime novel will not be his last." — Declan Burke, The Irish Times
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That's not to say that Colfer doesn't take Plugged seriously, or that he approaches the crime genre in any way half-hearted or tongue-in-cheek. Well, maybe just a little, since the hardboiled title could also refer to the hair-transplant treatment that Daniel McEvoy, the Irish-born bouncer at Slotz nightclub and former soldier in the Peace Keeping forces in Lebanon, has been receiving from an old friend and doctor of dubious qualifications, Zeb. Zeb however has gone missing, seemingly mixed up with the worst of Cloisters' organised crime gangs, but before Dan can look for him, another incident at the nightclub involving one of the hostesses presents him with potentially a lot more trouble.
Colfer's venture into the crime genre doesn't sound like it offers anything new, not even the fact that Dan is a little bit deranged, suffering flashbacks to his time in Lebanon and hearing voices in his head - an imaginary Zeb constantly berating him for getting distracted from the case - but Colfer's angle is managing to make these problems witty and amusing. There is some amount of parody of the noir genre, but it's affectionate rather than poking fun at the genre, and not quite as broad in the humour as Bateman's Mystery Man novels, for example. When you're dealing with a crazy world however - and Dan comes across many entertainingly deranged characters - you have to laugh in order to survive.
You also have to laugh at yourself, particularly when you are Irish, are getting on in years and having something of a mid-life crisis, as Dan is here. That makes Dan an entertaining character to be with as he navigates the murky New Jersey underworld, and tries to keep on the right side of the not so perfect law enforcement services - to say nothing of the rather strange women who throw themselves at him. Nothing new then, but Plugged is a fast-paced and entertaining read that plays well within the crime genre while finding a new outlet for the author's trademark wit and humour.
Eoin ("It's pronounced Owen!") Colfer is the New York Times bestselling author of 25 titles published in 44 languages---more than 20 million books sold. With Plugged, that number will increase exponentially.
Protagonist Daniel McEvoy is an Irish ex-pat and now a bouncer at seedy Slotz, a New Jersey casino. McEvoy's friend, Zeb Kronski, has medical aspirations but no degree. That doesn't stop him from injecting fake Botox or performing liposuction. It's where Zeb injects the unwanted fat that magnifies the sassy, irreverent tone of this novel. Always a step ahead of the law, Zeb now transplants hair plugs for McEvoy and others. Perhaps that's the titular plug?
Connie DeLyne is a hostess "in a dump like Slotz," and McEvoy comes to her aid too late, finding her dead with a dime-sized hole in her head. Detective Ronnie Deacon, "wearing anger on her face like latex," investigates the homicide. Since McEvoy has "an aura that looked like shark-infested water [and could] piss people off just by walking by," Deacon quickly focuses on him as the prime suspect.
Now, Zeb has gone missing, and McEvoy questions if indeed he killed them both, fixating on conversations he had with a military shrink, Simon Moriarty. Metaphors are mixed with a blender as McEvoy observes that "curiosity has always been the cat that skinned me." In that mix are thoughts popping into McEvoy's mind ("I'm carrying around my best friend in my head") that he later attributes to the voice of Ghost Zeb. "Ghost Zeb is turning out to be as much of a pain in the arse as his corporeal self."
Complicating matters is Irish Mike Madden, a "Mick who has never been to Ireland, [whose] prostitution, protection and a burgeoning crystal meth business" personify the Irish mafia. The closest he's come to the Emerald Isle is a St. Patrick's Day parade.
Wearing "a sunburn of anger," Irish Mike slams into Slotz, demanding to locate a mysterious disk from the day Connie was killed, when security cameras just happened to be wiped clean. "Well, it doesn't get much more down and dirty than Slotz," and the tables turn like a tornado.
Incredible imagination won't suffice to solve this spectacular who-what-and-whydunit. This five-star story in the vein of Robert Coover's NOIR has more twists than a box of rotini pasta. And it's one of my Top Ten for '11 review picks.
This review originally published by Bookreporter, by L. Dean Murphy.
Plugged: A Novel
I found Plugged reasonably entertaining but on the whole, I think it misses the mark. The plot is highly contrived, as our protagonist is quickly faced with a series of mysterious events, murders and other crimes that may or may not be related. The mysteries are resolved one by one in a manner that isn't especially satisfying. The entire plot, which is pretty ridiculous, is unrealistic in a way that doesn't quite work. The lack of realism doesn't work for gritty noir fiction and the humor doesn't push the boundaries far enough to be truly inspired, over-the-top, sardonic genre satire. The end result is a novel that is too silly to be suspenseful but doesn't have the insight and originality to be great satire. It's amusing at times and has plenty of action but has no urgency and the novel generates little suspense.
All in all, a bit of disappointment. 3 stars.