Friday, September 30, 2016

RUMRUNNERS by Eric Beetner

This is the third Eric Beetner book I've read this year and for the third time in a row, he delivers thrilling, pulpy, criminal entertainment. Rumrunners, which so far might actually be his most popular book, follows the McGraw family, who for generations have been working as talented wheelmen for the Stanley's, an Iowa crime family. Tucker McGraw has been set on ending this outlaw legacy by going to college and becoming an insurance salesman. But when his father Webb goes missing with the Stanley's latest package, the Stanley's put the debt on him. So Tucker must reluctantly get involved in the family business, and with the help of his OG grandfather Calvin, find out the truth about Webb's disappearance, and get out from under the thumb of the Stanley's.

Like in Dig Two Graves and Run For the Money, in this one, Beetner once again shows a knack for creating engaging criminal characters. Calvin McGraw stole the show here as the 84-year-old whose fondness for beer is only eclipsed by his love for American muscle cars, and who is growing tired of his retirement and jumps at a chance for reliving his glory days outrunning the Feds on the open road. Also, seeing the McGraw side of straight-man Tucker gradually emerge from within as he begins to embrace the outlaw life was fun to see as well. And Beetner has a talent for crafting great action scenes, with the fist-fights and car chases properly standing out the way they should in a book like this. And when you include Beetner's trademark wit and humor, you won't be disappointed with this classic crime thriller.
"Well, Milo. You're really going from zero to McGraw in one shot tonight. Tell you what, cops and our family are like magnets and wood—they don't stick. Lose this son of a bitch and we'll add your name to the wall of honor."

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