Monday, October 13, 2014

The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping / Les Edgerton

Reviewed by: Keith Nixon

Genre: Crime / Humour

Approximate word count: 65-70,000 words

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Les Edgerton is the author of sixteen books. He is an ex-con and served two years for a single charge of burglary, reduced from 182, two strong-arm robberies, an armed robbery, and a count of possession with intent to deal. Today, he's completely reformed. Prior to this Les served in the U.S. Navy as a cryptographer during the Cuban Crisis and the beginning of the Vietnam War.

After making parole, Les obtained a B.A. from Indiana University and then received his MFA in Writing (Fiction) from Vermont College. He teaches workshops nationwide on writing. Born in Texas, Les now lives in Indiana with his family.

You can learn more about the author at his blog.


Pete Halliday’s gambling addiction costs him dear – his baseball career is over. So Halliday heads to New Orleans to find his fortune, hustling. But five years later he’s failed again and is in debt to a bookie and in deep with Tommy LeClerc, a man with a pool of luck as shallow as Halliday’s.

LeClerc comes up with another can’t lose scam, to kidnap the Cajun Mafia King and hold him for ransom. To demonstrate they’re serious LeClerc says the King’s amputated hand will be the proof they need to get a sack of cash. Halliday wants out of the seamier side of life so he can open a restaurant.

But as the payoff comes in Halliday is double crossed by LeClerc. Halliday has to run for his life as the mob chases him and his girlfriend, hooker and waitress Cat Duplaisir, wanting their money returned and to deliver a whole heap of revenge.


There’s a large degree of ying and yang in Les Edgerton’s stories – the known mixed in with the unexpected and Plastic… is no exception to the rule.

I’ve previously reviewed a number of Edgerton’s novels including Just Like That, The Rapist and The Bitch. As you may guess from the titles alone the author isn’t afraid to make a point. They are typically noir in nature and heavy on crime (big, smiley face from this reviewer). They’re blunt, yet subtle. And there’s no glamourizing the crime either, in fact quite the opposite. But with each work the author throws a curve ball at the reader – these are by no means your usual crime fare.

Plastic… fits into this mould, but Edgerton has produced a rip-roaring story of back stabbing and screw ups laced with plenty of black humour - Halliday couldn’t make more mistakes if he tried his damndest. And because the novel is written in the first person with Halliday in the driving seat we really see what the narrator has thrown away and continues to do so. The guy just can’t help himself. With the kidnap of The King and LeClerc’s subsequent betrayal it seems like Halliday has reached the end of the road.

The characterization in Edgerton’s novels are always strong. Halliday, and in particular Cat, are excellent. But the supporting cast are in there too, holding up their end. The author, an ex-con, often draws on personal experience (read Just Like That if you don’t believe me) which gives an extra level of reality to events. As Halliday blunders through the novel by turns I winced and laughed out loud. As usual the author has produced some writing that’s a little bit different to the rest of us.


Some swearing.

Format/Typo Issues:


Rating:  ***** Five Stars

1 comment:

Les Edgerton said...

I'm just plain delighted that you enjoyed the read, Keith! Thank you for a wonderful review.