Ted Hogwood’s beloved Sarah, a jazz guitar, is in the window of Topp Dollar Pawn. The only way he can get the money to rescue her is to accept an assignment from the AABC, a not nearly official branch of the United States Intelligence community. He is partnered with Jerry Kwiatkowski, master of the Hammond B-3 organ and chronic flatulence sufferer, to steal a boomerang containing secrets that should have died with J. Edgar Hoover over thirty years ago. It would be a simple job if only they knew what they were doing. And if a crossbow wielding assassin, two unemployed Australian women, the Director of Central Intelligence and a clothing optional ex-cheerleader were not also hot on the boomerang’s trail.
It took me quite a while to get through this novel, largely because I had to keep going back and re-reading sections in an attempt to make more sense of what was happening. It jumps around a lot, from continent to continent, and from character to character, never really giving a good grounding with any one person or place, so there’s no real depth. It doesn’t quite seem to know what it wants to be – does it want to be comedy or serious? It veers between the two without anchoring on either – not quite funny enough to be a comedy, but not quite serious enough to be otherwise.
With all the jumping around, I quite literally lost the plot, and I found having so many characters (none of whom were employed to their full potential, or given enough oomph and personality to grab me fully) rather jarring. It’s a shame, because I think the story had a lot of potential – it just wasn’t given a chance to really shine.
Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite