Friday, December 18, 2015


Bill Ott at Booklist seems kinda relieved about ICE CHEST: 

Fans can’t be blamed for their furrowed brows when a favorite author decides to change styles. So when action-maestro Rhoades turns away from flawed noir heroes and nonstop overdrive to try his hand at a wacky, Elmore Leonard–style caper novel, well, we can’t help but worry. 

No need, as it turns out. There’s  just enough edge in this gang-who-couldn’t-shoot-straight heist tale to remind us that blood is only an itchy trigger finger away, but connected to those trembling digits are some of the goofiest, oddly sympathetic characters since Brad Smith rigged a horse race in All Hat (2003). The bad guys, including twins who happen to be eunuchs (long story) and a ringleader whose outsize vocabulary has led to delusions of grandeur, plan to kidnap a supermodel who will be wearing a bra studded with $5 million in jewels. On the other side of the scrimmage line are the security chief for the lingerie company; his punky, computer-wizard assistant; and the model’s chaperone, who has some special skills of her own. Oh, and there’s the supermodel’s jealous, mobbed-up boyfriend, too. 

The thing is, every one of these characters could star in his or her own thriller—well, except maybe the eunuchs—and together they comprise an ensemble that delivers nonstop entertainment. Does Rhoades do comic caper novels better than he does high-octane thrillers? Too close to call. 

Thanks, Bill! I think I'm going to add "action-maestro" to my business card.  

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