I read NARCO MOOLAH: A CLEO MATTS NOVEL by Joe Crubaugh last week. Here is the review I posted on Amazon and Goodreads:
I read fiction for many reasons, but I read genre fiction only for entertainment. Scared, thrilled, dazed, impressed, horrified, or just plain happily whisked away from life’s everyday problems—it’s all entertainment to me.
NARCO MOOLAH: A CLEO MATTS NOVEL, written by Joe Crubaugh, is a quirky and highly entertaining piece of genre fiction.
My wife leaves for work at about 7:15 a.m., so I usually have my breakfast alone. Whether it’s oatmeal or cold cereal or yogurt or bacon and eggs, I have my breakfast at the counter while catching up on the news on my iPad. Crubaugh’s novel interrupted my routine: I read it instead of the news while eating my breakfast. I haven’t done that for a while.
Good guy spy Cleo Matts is no James Bond, but he’s got enough going for him to make him an interesting character. While he’s a bit too silly for my taste, too much of a cut-up, he’s got a didactic memory and is a natural linguist—very cool skills. He’s an okay fighter, but does get his butt kicked a time or two. Ever heard of a spy who’s afraid of guns? You have one here. He gets to have a couple of love interests, but don’t worry, he’s not settling down anytime soon.
Crubaugh keeps the novel’s pace moving along admirably and takes us to foreign and exotic places most of us have never been. The scenery, natives, customs, and societies are convincingly written; I’d be shocked if the author had not been to all these places himself.
The bad guys are, well, bad, very bad, and we are introduced to new characters, both good and bad, throughout the novel, but at an acceptable pace. There are plenty of explosions, fights, chases, gun battles, and computer hackers to satisfy any action or tech junkie.
The title's a little goofy and characters occasionally say things I feel are, well, silly. One guy, who works for the NSA, likes to say “What the junk!” And there’s a martial arts moved called “Ape’s Hammer of the Comet Hand.” What the junk? Even if it’s real it sounds hokey. Thankfully, Cleo mastered the move by the end of the novel.
These minor niggles aside, NARCO MOOLAH is a well-written and entertaining read, one I have no qualms recommending to fans of thriller and action novels.
Seriously folks, give the novel a look. At least download the sample chapter to your Kindle or Kindle app.