Mixed Company: First in Decent Men Series
Author: Andy Horne
Publisher: Carpenters Son Publishing (2014)
Binding: Paperback, 400 pages
Randolph “Dolph” Cavanaugh is a good old Texas businessman: successful overweight, opinionated, and happily married. Never mind that he has a shady second life, dating back to his Vietnam days and an association with the enigmatic, attractive Frenchwoman, Pierrette “Pete” Meredith. Pete has a shady second life also, one far more involved than Dolph’s, and she teaches him well. Is it any wonder, then, that Dolph senses problems with his friend Baxter Trimmer’s bank, the one where Dolph’s wife Corrine and his mother-in-law, “Momma,” are on the board of directors? The bank where the Cavanaugh’s not-so-nice new neighbors, the Shiprites, open high stake transactions. The chase to uncover the Shiprites’ plot is on, hampered only the FBI’s interest in Dolph’s extralegal deals and Corrine’s even more deadly campaign to whip her husband into physical shape.
Andy Horne uses his years of legal experience in fraud and banking scams to build a tightly plotted and humorously peopled story. Randolph Cavanaugh is a masterpiece of tongue-in-check delineation. To the end, he stays one step ahead of the Feds, even though he welcomes their help in nailing the bad guys. Equally telling is Horne’s explanation of how the Shiprites go about building their scam, leaving no loose ends in the unraveling. One can only wonder if Horne himself wasn’t involved in prosecuting similar scams. One can only wonder, too, what Dolph will be up to in the next book of the Decent Men series, now that Pete has moved next door.
Reviewed by: B. N. Peacock (2014)
What’s an occasional swindler to do to abandon that career? What influences change the heart of such a person? Are their effects sudden or cumulative and bothersome, perhaps vague? Mixed Company provides one set of influences, sometimes humorous, gnawing at Dolph Cavanaugh’s dual identities of traveling con man and honestly successful investor in his small town Texas community. Ensnared in conventional trappings of decency, Dolph is driven to foil plans of other perverse swindlers that have come to town.
Characters in Mixed Companyare more than the stick figures of seemingly formula fiction forgotten by the last page; they are credible composites of people we recognize every day.