Years ago, I saw Wag the Dog, a wickedly funny movie starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro. Hilary Henkin and David Mamet wrote the screenplay, based on a novel by Larry Beinhart. Iâ€™d never read this authorâ€™s work until now. And boy, am I glad I did.
Itâ€™s not every day you read a crime thriller with a seventy-year-old protagonist. Often, people that age are portrayed as quirky, talkative, and harmless. But not Tony Casella. This guy is still dangerous. And he doesnâ€™t say all that much. Though heâ€™d like nothing better than to save his house and enjoy the Catskills vibe, the universe isnâ€™t having it. Thereâ€™s work to do, and Tony is the man.
I enjoyed the writing style immensely. Itâ€™s terse, mordant, and sometimes downright hilarious. Weâ€™re talking about contract killing here, but this story was fun. Oh, and just when youâ€™ve had enough of the east coast, weâ€™re off to Austria for a ski trip. I donâ€™t ski, but reading the authorâ€™s descriptions, I could almost feel the powder on my skin.
If youâ€™re looking for a different kind of novel with plenty of bad guys, I recommend picking up The Deal Goes Down. Then, rent Wag the Dog.
A legendary, Edgar-Award winning writer returns, and so does his legendary detective, with a gripping thriller about marital discord, contract killing, off-piste skiing and the deep state…
Ex-private eye Tony Casella lives in the Catskill mountains, a lonely old tough guy whose body can no longer do what it once did. His wife and son are dead; his daughter barely talks to him; his bank is in the process of foreclosing on his home.
But a chance encounter with a rich young woman on a train changes everything. He is hired to take care of her superrich, sexual predator husband. That job leads to others and he joins a small start-up whose mission is to save women from abusive marriages. Provided their spouses are in the top 0.01%. Itâ€™s a luxury service destined to make great profits.
Tonyâ€™s problems seem to be over, but are they? An old, angry associate is determined to get his cut of Tonyâ€™s earnings, murky government agents start to tail him, and when he is sent to the Austrian alps to kill a Russian oligarch and rescue his American wife, all hell breaks looseâ€¦
Packed with action The Deal Goes Down is an unforgettable portrait of a Lion in Winter who still has a few tricks up his sleeve, from a writer garlanded with awards and critical acclaim and whose novel American Hero was made into the classic film, Wag the Dog.