Do you watch CSI: Anywhere? Do modern day thrillers with drugs, violence and crime interest you? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, there is no doubt in my mind that you will enjoy Every Man a Menace by Patrick Hoffman.
The book is split into five different parts, each focusing on a different link in the drug trade; all of them sketchy. There is Moisey, living in Thailand and setting off a chain of events all because of an indiscretion and subsequent phone call; Raymond, a newly-freed convict looking to make some cash now that he’s on the outside; Gloria, a no-nonsense business woman that’s old enough to be everyone’s Grandma, plus many other unique and unforgettable characters. They are all involved in a major drug shipment to San Francisco of 50 millions dollars worth of ecstasy.
What makes this book stand out is the disjointed timeline that Hoffman takes us on. At times it can be a bit confusing, but I got the hang of it by the middle of the book. When he begins a new section he quickly situates it on a bigger timeline for the reader, which allows us to settle in and enjoy what we’re about to read, rather than struggle to put the pieces together. There is definitely a larger puzzle, but I didn’t feel pressured to figure everything out all at once, and not until the last few pages does everything make sense anyway.
What I loved about this book was the fact that each character was so selfish and despicable that they all had ulterior motives, which provided the necessary plot twists for a crime thriller such as this. I realize that’s a pretty obvious observation: you can’t trust drug dealers, but still, it was deliciously fun to read about. Plus, the bad-ass female characters were great, especially Gloria, she was my favourite. Hoffman did a great job of making these people three dimensional because I didn’t just see them all as ‘bad’ people, they were definitely on a scale; some were sort of bad, some were awful and scary, and some where pitiable. The only thing they all had in common was how selfish they were, but again, probably not a groundbreaking observation there either.
This is Hoffman’s second book, and it appears as though it’s been optioned for film, so we should be seeing more of him and his books in the future. I also want to mention that Hoffman is also working as a Private Investigator in Brooklyn, so aside from that being SUPER COOL it means he’s seen a lot of what he’s writing about, which lends an air of authenticity to this book as well.