There are those that know me, my wife included, that think I may be a little eccentric. I wear that idea like a badge of honor. Eccentricity is an art form, it has taken decades of dedication to master it. Eccentrics tend to associate with other eccentrics, it is a law of attraction. In a spirited exchange with my wife recently she asked “Do you actually know any regular people, people that are not ex Mobsters, Bounty Hunters, retired CIA spooks, you know, just regular people”?

I gave it some thought!  Mostly I drew a blank. What has this got to do with Jeffrey Friedberg and his novel Red White And Dead? Well actually quite a lot, Jeffrey fits right into my group of associates. He is a retired Private Investigator turned thriller author. He has a delightfully wicked sense of humor as I discovered last week. He sent me a supposed excerpt from the book that he is currently working on.  The excerpt introduced a new character Simeone Baronette, AKA Doc Baron. I shall have to wait and see if Doc Baron does indeed make it into Kill The Media. If he does, I suspect I shall be making a journey to the wilds of New Mexico to have a few curt words with Mr. Friedberg 🙂

Red White And Dead is actually the second of three books starring slightly shop soiled PI Jack Vane. As Jeffrey Friedberg calls it, it is a prequel to Red White And Dead Again. You can find my review here.

I have to admit that I do like the character Jack Vane, he would most certainly fit well with the real eccentrics that I call friends. Of course the only drawback with having Jack as a friend is the distinct possibility of waking up dead! This is probably why Jack Vane really does not have too many friends.

Red White And Dead finds our hero once again embroiled in a story of international intrigue, what happened to the vast treasure amassed by Spain during their rape and pillage of the American South West? The Spanish Conquistador Francisco Coronado had no known opportunity to ship the spoils of war home before he died, so where is it?

Could it be hidden somewhere in New Mexico? Russian Mobster Yaakov Irgun wants to know, and Yaakov tends to get whatever it is he desires. Jack Vane of course is in his usual position of being broke and dodging the debt collectors, but he is hardly chomping at the bit to climb in bed with the mob. To sweeten the pot Jack is simply told that he has two choices, take the case or the next case he will be involved in will be made of wood and have brass handles!

Jack quickly learns that he is not alone in his quest for Coronado’s gold. None of the seekers like nor trust Jack Vane, but all seem of the opinion that Jack is the one man that might be able to solve the mystery. Too valuable to kill, yet too dangerous to let live.

I have to admit that Jeffrey Friedberg knows how to spin an exciting yarn, he wastes no words, the reader is hurtled into the bizarre world of Jack Vane, there is no courtship, no wining and dining, no meeting the parents. Nope, the reader is hooked on the plot from page one. Actually it is a refreshing style, authors tend to get themselves bogged down setting the stage and developing the characters, rather than getting to the meat and potatoes of the story. That does not mean that the author short changes the reader, the character development is skillful, a little here, a little there, until you know these people as well as your best friend

Red White And Dead is a wild action packed romp and a sheer joy to read. I hate to give spoilers, but in this case I think it is fair to say that the accusations of Jack Vane being a serial killer prove to be unfounded!  I reveal this information only because Jack Vane pops up again in Red White And Dead Again!

Grab a copy of Red White And Dead, pick a comfy lounger on a nice beach, and a cold drink, this is the perfect book for a trip to the world of fiction.

Simon Barrett

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