Fresh Squeezed by Bonnie Biafore and James Ewing started out very My Cousin Vinny and then exploded into a true crime version of Northern Exposure, with a cavalcade of wacky characters snared in an ever-evolving, ever-expanding web of mystery, murder, and big money.
There’s lots of intrigue to be had, with small-town politics gone bad, a murderer (or several) on the loose, and a good-guy mobster, Anthony “Juice” Verrone, former Mafia enforcer and guest of the Witness Security Program, who wants to get to the bottom of the mystery, but has to remain hidden. Juice is a guy who knows that in Washington, the coffee is very good, and who can appreciate a hot nurse with a very liberal sense of sexual ethics. Physical therapy, Cialis, you can see where all that leads to.
Yet, just when I thought I knew where the story was headed, enter the evil, murderous lesbians who finally prove how diabolical a vegetarian hot dog can be.
And you have hitmen, of course—one an amateur who comes from the pest control industry and the other far more professional, but who finds himself in a shootout with Dale Earnhardt Junior look-alikes. This book just might prove that fiction is stranger than truth.
The setting is well-drawn and homespun, with the local restaurant, “The Tuck ‘er Inn”, serving up laughs, intrigue and chicken wings.
The strength of the book is the humor, the characters, and the setting, and the mystery is handled really well. Really, evil lesbians with a James Bond villain lair. I never saw that coming.
The cast got a bit too large for me, and I had some trouble remembering the characters, but that just might be because I’m getting older. I would have liked to see a tighter story structure and more of a character arc for our hero, Juice, who gets lost in the action but remains likable.
All in all, a fun, reckless summer read.