Big Numbers by Jack Getze

(Austin Carr, Mystery #1)

Root for divorced dad Austin Carr, a funny, oversexed scamp who'll use anything and everything to get his kids back. Think Bugs Bunny with guns and a penis.
Divorced dad Austin Carr wakes up every day in a beat-up camper, parked on someone else’s private property. Why? Because his alimony and child support payments were established by New Jersey’s family court system when his income was double, and for the last two years he has failed to earn the legally mandated monthly nut. He’s had his savings drained, his Maxima repossessed, his salary attached, and his visiting rights suspended. He bought the twelve-year-old Chevy pick-up with the rusty camper for $800 last month because another landlord tossed his butt in the street. Will stretching the rules, his own morals, and the boundaries of common sense raise the cash needed to get his kids back? Or will his bad behavior set him up for a nasty double-cross? Find out if Austin can redeem himself and win back his children.

This slender book turned out to be a cinch to sink into and a delight to finish.

Austin Carr, with his ‘infectious grin’, is a down-on-his luck stockbroker saddled with a vicious ex-wife, office politics, and mucho debt to settle. It becomes much worse, however, when he ignores his instincts and takes a gamble on a bad deal. Will he be able to survive his mistake, or is this the big one he’ll never walk away from?

The fun ‘hero’ is humorous, shamelessly male in his pursuits, and a father with the right priorities where his kids are concerned. He is also one of those who life likes laughing at while it keeps tossing him cards of irony and chaos. The story’s bombshell is classic noir – alluring, inviting, and dangerous. I won’t go over every character but will say even the smaller roles stand out proudly. Even when they follow trademark roles, they’re still enjoyable.

Jack Getze delivers his tale smoothly using short paragraphs and mini chapters. Action and pacing keep the story moving at a good speed through humorous inner musings, convincing dialogue, and the classic traits which make a story shine. The ending holds at least two surprises, dishing out tantalizing twists mystery fans will enjoy.

In summary, Big Numbers excels by borrowing age-old noir crime qualities we already know and love, but those familiarities are intertwined with a fresh, unique style all of its own.

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