Series: An Austin Carr Mystery
The author calls the Genre: A SCREWBALL MYSTERY
First in Series
Paperback: 204 pages
Publisher: Down & Out Books (June 2, 2013)
E-Book File Size: 457 KB
Root for divorced dad Austin Carr, a funny, oversexed scamp who’ll use anything and everything to get his kids back.
Divorced father Austin Carr wakes up every day in a beat-up camper, parked on someone else’s private property. Why? Because his alimony and child support payments were established by New Jersey’s family court system when his income was double, and for the last two years he has failed to earn the legally mandated monthly nut. He’s had his savings drained, his Maxima repossessed, his salary attached, and his visiting rights suspended. He bought the twelve-year-old Chevy pick-up with the rusty camper for $800 last month because another landlord tossed his butt in the street. Will stretching the rules, his own morals, and the boundaries of common sense raise the cash needed to get his kids back? Or will his big mouth and bad behavior set him up for a nasty double-cross? Find out if Austin can redeem himself and win back his children.
My name’s Austin Carr. I’m a stockbroker. The slick expensive business cards in my wallet say I’m a Senior Financial Consultant for Shore Securities, Inc., Members of the American Association of Securities Dealers, but I’m really just a salesman and I work for myself. Straight commission. If I don’t sell, I don’t eat.
“Another margarita, Luis.”
A lot of people in my line of work call themselves investment counselors. They wear two-thousand-dollar Italian suits, carry alligator attaché cases, think and talk about themselves as professionals like doctors and lawyers. In truth, we’re closer kin to used car dealers, only more dangerous because losing your life savings is a tad worse than getting stuck with a leaky transmission.
It’s hard to sport illusions about yourself when you live in a camper. And I’ve always treated my clients with honesty, to the point of aggravating every sales manager I’ve ever had. Even so, keeping my self respect, I have not been thinking about this job in a favorable light. In fact, in the years since the market crashed, ruining my sales numbers, my finances, and more recently, any chance of being with my two children, Ryan and Beth, I’ve been wracking my brain, trying desperately to figure another way to earn a living.
“Another double?” Luis says.
Although no solution to my dilemma has yet presented itself, I’ve discovered it helps to ruminate in a positive setting: Luis’s Mexican Grill on Broad Street in Branchtown. The decor reminds me of home, Los Angeles, and Luis has an authentico Mexican chef, Cruz. Best of all, Luis works the bar himself every day.
“You are not going to work today?” Luis says.
“Careful, Luis. Your query borders on insult. In fact, I have already called work, only to discover that my monster client delayed our scheduled discourse until this afternoon. I stayed here this morning to spend some quality time with you and Cruz.”
“I recommend this be your final cocktail,” Luis says.
Dealing with numbers all the time is an ache in the ass, definitely, but my biggest problem with being a stockbroker is having to spend all day on the money machine, dialing for dollars, calling busy people at the wrong time, apologizing because the back office screwed up a check, downplaying the risks of an investment to exaggerate the benefits, dancing investors from one asset to another so I can take part of their principal as commission. To be a successful stockbroker, you have to be slightly larcenous.
I lick the wet salt from the rim of my still empty margarita glass. Of course I never worried about little things like morality while I was netting five- to ten-thousand dollars a month. It’s only been since my income dropped by more than half, and mainly since I lost physical contact with my children that I search for the social significance of securities sales.
I was interested in this book because at one time I worked in the securities business. I wasn’t working with customers and their portfolios, but I was involved with other aspects so I wondered how this story would play out. Austin is a down on his luck broker living out of a truck with a camper and has a restraining order against him until he pays his back child support….but that doesn’t stop him from trying to see his kids anyway. Now his biggest customer is at death’s door and his “wife” wants to move some money into her name so that she is not left in the cold when he dies. Yeah, she isn’t married to him. Of course she is a beautiful red-head and Austin is in lust. He thinks that this is going to be an easy (or at least easier) thing to do as long as she is willing to do things that aren’t 100% legal. Of course the story doesn’t end there and I don’t want to giveaway the twists and turns, many that threw me for a loop! I did not see many of them coming. The writing was good and the storyline interesting, but it didn’t grab me like other books. I did still enjoy the book because I was definitely surprised at some of the twists that occurred. I can’t say too much because that would give it away..so you’ll just have to get a copy for yourself, or enter to win the copy I am giving away at the end of this post!
“Darkly comic, with an engaging protagonist.”
– T.J. MacGregor, Edgar Winner, Author of The Tango Key Mysteries
“Big Numbers is a gritty, sexy, violent, and funny book.”
– Liz Clifford at Reviewed by Liz
“Wonderful characters…well-written, entertaining…a good read.”
–Connie Anderson for Armchair Interviews
“Jack Getze started his career as a newspaper reporter. As a result, BIG NUMBERS is lean and mean, with not a word wasted. A truly fun, genuinely funny read.”
–Lisa Guidarini for Bluestalking Reader
Former Los Angeles Times reporter Jack Getze is Fiction Editor for Anthony nominated Spinetingler Magazine, one of the internet’s oldest websites for noir, crime, and horror short stories. Through the Los Angeles Times/Washington Post News Syndicate, his news and feature stories were published in over five-hundred newspapers and periodicals worldwide. His two screwball mysteries, BIG NUMBERS and BIG MONEY, are being reissued by DOWN & OUT BOOKS, with the new BIG MOJO to follow. His short stories have appeared in A Twist of Noir and Beat to a Pulp. Getze is an Active Member of Mystery Writers of America’s New York Chapter.
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A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.