| | Caribbean Series
| || Jamaica Blue (2002)|
From Publishers Weekly
Set in Jamaica and Florida and steeped in the lore of rock and roll, pot, Rastafarianism and reggae rap, Bruns's first novel, alas, provides only moderate mystery entertainment. Mick Sever, a renowned rock critic and author of a bestselling book about a rock star's murder, agrees to do a piece on a new reggae group headed by the charismatic Derrick Layman (hailed as "the second coming of Bob Marley"), whose misogynistic lyrics advocate violence against women. Two young women have already been murdered after Derrick and the Laments concerts. When a third victim is stabbed to death, the alleged killer, Roland Jamison, one of Layman's security guards, is found standing over the body with a bloody knife. The police, understandably, arrest Jamison, but Sever, like Inspector Clouseau under similar obvious circumstances in A Shot in the Dark, doubts the man's guilt based on his bewildered expression. Bruns makes much of this and the authorities' unwillingness to accept it as evidence. There are few suspects but their complex relationships generate most of the narrative interest. There are two attempts to drive Sever off the road, a bashing or two and a fistfight, but otherwise little action and no suspense. Sever may not be a terribly compelling sleuth, but his extensive knowledge of the rock world helps redeem the story, as does a clever and logical solution to the crimes.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
| || South Beach Shakedown (2006)|
Synopsis (from the publisher): Someone is about to make a killing in the music industry. Why would songwriting legend Gideon Pike mysteriously disappear just when he is about to turn a 30-year career into a multi-million dollar profit?
Music columnist Mick Sever is back in Don Brun’s third suspense masterpiece. This time he’s looking for answers and his missing friend in the gritty backrooms of South Beach’s biggest nightclubs, dodging suicide speedboats and running from sniper fire. What surfaces is how the major players in the music industry are not making the headlines, they’re just pulling the strings that create them. Hit it right, and the royalties – even someone else’s – can rake in millions for the rest of your life. The key is finding Gideon before Korean mobster Jimmy Shinn does. Jimmy is ready to cash in on the one secret that will bring Gideon to his knees and strip away what’s left of his career, his fortune, and his life. Whoever gets to Gideon first will ether save him or pull the trigger.
The deadly race is on. Oceanview Publishing
| || Stuff to Die For (2007)|
*Starred Review* On Florida's lower east coast, only one thing flourishes more luxuriantly than crime, and that is crime writing. With Bruns' second offering, we are presented with yet another set of lovable freaks and oddballs; this batch will remind the reader of Tim Dorsey's cast of whacked-out characters but with the narrative voice and feel of Mark Twain's Huck Finn. The protagonist, Skip (aka Eugene), and his high-school pal James work dead-end jobs in one of Miami's deadest ends, Carol City. When James comes into a windfall, the friends devise a business plan over late-night beers, buy a one-ton box truck, and go into the freelance hauling business. Their first job, arranged for by Skip's millionaire girlfriend, yields up a finger on which rests their high-school class ring. The plot involves the staples of South Florida fiction: anti-Castro elements and involvement by possible sinister government agencies. But the fun is in the characters. When Skip's girlfriend of many years informs him she is pregnant, he says in dead earnestness, "Who's the father?" Later, when Skip tells James the good news, he retorts, equally seriously, "Who's the father?" How can you not like a novel with characters like that? Glassman, Steve
| || Stuff Dreams Are Made Of (2008)|
Seeking to strike it rich, two young simpletons get in over their knuckleheads.Preston Cashdollar - yes, that's his real name - is a revivalist preacher who's mesmerized a tent flock into piling high his collection plates. Bemused by dreams of avarice, Skip Moore and James Lessor (Stuff to Die For, 2007, etc.), buds from boyhood and not greatly evolved since, decide they want in on the action. They plan to convert their truck into a burger-and-fries dispenser that can serve quick meals to born-agains whose hunger is more than spiritual. The blinkered pair don't consider the chilling presence of the thuggish full-time vendors who follow venal Cashdollar from meeting to meeting, and who make it plain they don't welcome part-time competition. Nor do they wonder about the grim fates of those who've found themselves on the Cashdollar enemies list. But even clueless Skip and James begin to worry when their manna-on-wheels is vandalize, money is stolen and James loses big in a poker game clearly rigged against him. Even so, our heroes soldier on, persuaded, as the author seems to be, that Cashdollar's success must stem from a secret worth their study.Feckless and Reckless adrift in a plot that's essentially mindless. (Kirkus Reviews)
|Stuff to Spy For (2009)|
From Publishers Weekly Skip Moore and James Lessor pursue a new career as spies in Bruns's wacky third novel to feature the bumbling South Florida sleuths (after 2008's Stuff Dreams Are Made Of). When Sarah Crumbly, an old high school friend, approaches Skip about updating the security for Synco Systems, a software company that designs protection systems for computer networks, Skip accepts because he's promised a big bonus if he also pretends to be Sarah's boyfriend until the installation is complete. Sarah, a high-rent call girl, happens to be the mistress of Synco's married CEO, Sandy Conroy, with whom she has plans to leave the country. Complications ensue after Synco's v-p, Ralph Walter, turns up dead in his office, an apparent suicide. Skip, James and Skip's girlfriend, Emily, become bargain-basement James Bonds as they acquire an assortment of nifty spy stuff to use in their investigation. Be prepared for some laugh-out-loud moments. (Nov.)
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