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Crooked by Brian M. Wiprud
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This is a rather quirky mystery novel that involves a very valuable stolen painting, drilling for gold in New York Harbor, and various types of dysfunctional relationships.

Nicholas Pahlinic is a hustler and retriever-of-missing-items for big insurance companies. He is the family black sheep who knows every lowlife and nook & cranny in the city. His brother, Garth, is a taxidermist. His latest job leads him to Beatrice Belarus, a high-powered art dealer who has no problem with rolling over people to get what she wants. She also has a very large cash-flow problem.

Drummond Yager has spent his adult life traveling around the world retrieving things for Newcastle Warranty. Usually, the assignments took him to places like deep in the Amazon rain forest, or deepest, darkest Africa. He is in New York City while his employer looks for the best way to get rid of him. Barney Swires is a city employee with a 'sixth sense' about finding things like abandoned maintenance tunnels and unused sewers deep under the city. He is confident that he has found the site where, in the 1850s, a ship went down carrying millions of dollars in gold. The spot is now part of an unofficial island in New York Harbor. Some "unofficial" drilling is needed, so the Pazzo brothers are hired. They are roughnecks who play in a local hockey league. It's the sort of game where the broken bones and concussions are counted at the end. Everything manages to come together at the end of the story.

This is a really good piece of writing. The mystery part will keep the reader's interest, along with the unique characters. It feels like it was written by someone who knows his way around the less well-known parts of the Big Apple. ( )
  plappen | Jul 7, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440243122, Mass Market Paperback)

Nicholas Palihnic is a natty, tweed-suited hustler who knows every nook and cranny of New York–and a thousand ways to break a girl’s heart. Beatrice Belarus is a Manhattan art dealer with an insatiable appetite for money–and for anyone who gets in her way. And a painting titled Trampoline Nude, 1972 has neither nudity nor a trampoline. But when Nicholas is hired by an insurance company to find the recently stolen painting, a murdered art thief points him to a trove of gold buried beneath Manhattan–and suddenly all roads are leading back to Beatrice. As fortune hunters, lovers, and other strangers gather around him, there’s one thing Nicholas must remember above all else: in this business, it’s better to be crooked than dead....

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:44 -0400)

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