Big Shoes by Jack Getze

(Austin Carr, #4)
Published 2015

Jersey Shore broker Austin Carr wants out of the stock and bond business but un-hooking from his mobbed-up partner won't be painless. Angelina "Mama Bones" Bonacelli needs Austin to help stop Johnny "The Turk" Korsay -- her rival in a boardwalk gambling crew -- from importing child sex slaves for Atlantic City.

Austin Carr has been around for four books now, but he's still not getting old. In fact, he has a humorous charm that repeats itself in cycles as he keeps losing his common sense over a pretty woman, gets sucked into shady situations because of his business connections, and always somehow comes out on top like the lucky stockbroker he is.

In this fourth installment, the unusual but enjoyable Mama Bones plays an even larger role than before - sometimes the book is even told her from point of view. There's a slight distance from Austin due to this, but it didn't detract any enjoyment. There's still the same funny situations that leave me chucking, the suspenseful moments that make me practically gnaw my bottom lip off, and the out-of-nowhere twists that make my eyes pop open. I probably look like a cartoon reading these.

This time around Austin is smartening up and wanting out of his business, a job that at first probably seemed relatively harmless until it became mixed up with business partners - and their mothers - who have mob connections. Throw in a competing rival who is hunting Austin down while he has to join up with the people he was wanting to break away from, and another fun adventure takes place.

The story is strong enough on its own (seriously, how does Getze think of all these twists??), but it's made even more unforgettable because of characters you latch on to. I even had my doubts a time or two this time about long-time compadre Luis, but he's always scene-stealing when he walks on page. Mama Bones being a strange mixture of tough-as-nail criminal paired as the neighborhood homemaker is always a riot. Austin is himself with his never ending faith in his own "full-boat grin." Lady interests thrown in the books bring them a small brush of noir lore that completely works.

A sequel that charms as much as its predecessors, Austin Carr is still wooing me with his big grin, twisted situations, and bizarre luck. Since the other books were good, it had big shoes to fill, and I'm happy to say it did it with style.

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