The Cyrus Caper
Author: Karl Boyd
Publisher: lulu.com (2009)
Binding: Paperback, 356 pages
In "The Cyrus Caper" - (the second lighthearted crime novel of the "Yes, we 'con'" trilogy), Roger Booth, his partner in crime, Carl James, plus most members of "The Nearly Perfect Plan" gang are running amok, again. This time aboard a cruise ship.
After successfully escaping from prison and eluding the FBI for two years, at the urging of their wives, Maria and Julie, Roger and Carl decide their notoriety has died down sufficiently for them to take a cruise to get away from the boredom of their self-imposed exile in the small Italian town of Reggio de Calabria.
When their "fun" cruise turns out to be a disaster, Roger and Carl make plans to get even with the Cyrus Cruise Lines by hijacking the same ship and robbing the passengers, casino, jewelry boutique and the Purser's office.
During a visit to Spain to requisition a WWII submarine to use for their escape, Roger and Carl are noticed and identified by agents of Interpol, who, in turn, inform the FBI of where their two most wanted fugitives from justice are residing.
In a surprise move, Roger and Carl are given a chance to complete their plans under the supervision of their old nemesis, FBI agent Jake Polk in hopes of capturing a most wanted Middle East terrorist.
The pair of con men agrees to assist the law, but true to his nature, Roger has other more devious plans. Double and triple crosses abound in the rollicking tale of deception, scheming and subterfuge. As always, with Roger and Carl, nothing is as it seems.
Author of the Month, November 2009
We've all experienced it. Some books are just plain too fun to read. They're like a frolic through a fictional world shaped by word images. A book where every sentence grabs you and holds onto you and won't let go and you don't mind in the least.
The reason is you don't want to stop until you've finished them and will forego sleep, food, your favorite TV show and other things to keep reading. Heck you'll even call in sick and tell your spouse you have a headache to keep your eyes glued to the pages.
When you're done with a book like that a stab of disappointment races through you and you immediately set out looking for other books by the same author and hope he's been as prolific as Isaac Asimov.
That's the best description I can come up with for Karl Boyd's latest "The Cyrus Caper."
The second part of his "Yes, We Con" trilogy (thank you Karl for providing more), this novel continues the adventures of gangster Roger Booth and his partner in crime Carl James on another one of their more unlikely -- but who cares, Boyd makes you want to willingly suspend your disbelief -- criminal enterprises.
During the two years following the events of the first novel The Nearly Perfect Plan Roger and Carl, along with their lovely, seductive and insatiable wives Maria and Julie, have been laying low in the sleepy Italian village of Reggio de Calabria -- one of those places where watching the grass grow is considered the apex of excitement. Tired of having nothing more to do than work on their tans with and without their Brazilian style bikinis, the ladies decide to seduce, I mean persuade, their husbands into taking a cruise on the Cyrus Lines' flagship, the Mediterranean Miss. The boys, who are going stir crazy polishing bocce balls and practicing their really bad Italian, readily agree. So off the frolicking foursome goes, with visions of "Love Boat" dancing in their heads.
What they get made steerage class aboard the Titanic look like pure luxury, the only difference being the Mediterranean Miss didn't have the good grace to slam into an iceberg and put the passengers and crew out of their misery as it made its way to the floor of the ocean. Disappointed Roger and Carl hatch a plot, as only they can, to return to this floating hell, hijack the ship and relieve ship and passengers of their valuables. Maria and Julie spend several enjoyable pages cougarizing a young assistant deputy purser to gather critical breaking and entering intelligence.
Once back in Italy, the master thieves reassemble most of the gang from the previous novel and head out in search of a World War II era submarine to make good their escape. They find one in the hands of the world's most wanted terrorist (no, not Bin Laden) through a go-between in Spain. While there the pair is ID'd by Interpol agents who let the FBI know where the pair is residing. Enter Roger and Carl's arch-nemesis, Agent Jake Polk, and things don't look good for spouses of the Julie and the finally pregnant Maria.
Surprise! Polk comes bearing gifts and offers them all a chance to get off the hook and live normal lives, as long as they'll do Uncle Sam and the FBI the little favor of helping Mustafa Abdullah Zaire.
What follows next, and I dare not say more, is a rollicking amalgamation of double, triple and quadruple crosses that makes a meeting of the College of Cardinals look downright secular; and enough subterfuge and intrigue to satisfy even the most jaded Bondophile.
You want to read this book!
I, for one, can't wait for the next one.
Reviewed by: David Tschanz (2009)