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Jack Wakes Up    by Seth Harwood order for
Jack Wakes Up
by Seth Harwood
Order:  USA  Can
Three Rivers, 2009 (2008)
Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

One-time action hero film star Jack Palms left Hollywood in disgrace (three years before this story opens) after a well publicized arrest for wife-beating (a false accusation despite his hard drug habit and dissolute lifestyle). Since then he's lived an ascetic hermit's life in Sausalito. Now his money is running out.

When old acquaintance Ralph calls him with the offer of a gig introducing out-of-town high rollers to the club scene and helping them make a drug deal, Jack's life quickly begins to mimic that of his one and only movie, Shake 'Em Down. Soon Ralph is dead, Jack's in the trenches of a drug war that quickly engulfs the Bay Area, and a homicide detective has him on a short leash. Is Jack terrified? Not at all. He's having the time of his life, along with his colorful Czech clients who turn out to be ex-KGB agents.

Jack gets involved with lovely bartender Maxine, connects with a Columbian drug dealer, and dodges bullets on what begins to seem like almost every page. But he finds out who killed Ralph, and he looks after his clients, who eventually make the actor an offer he can't refuse. If you enjoy hard-boiled mysteries, Seth Harwood's Jack Wakes Up is a classic, double dealing femme fatale and all.

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