The Evil That Men Do: A Jackson Donne Novel
Three Rivers, 2008 (2008)
Reviewed by Tim Davis
irst things first: Dave White's second novel,
The Evil That Men Do
, absolutely confirms and fulfills the promise of his highly regarded debut Jackson Donne novel,
When One Man Dies
; so, simply stated, readers looking for top-notch hard-boiled noir fiction featuring an intriguing protagonist and complex characterizations need look no further than Dave White's deftly plotted novels.
hen the high-octane action begins in
The Evil That Men Do
, Donne has recently lost his license as a private investigator and now works at a dead-end job as a security guard at a New Jersey storage facility. Suddenly, though, Donne's humdrum life is about to take off on an adrenaline-filled roller-coaster ride.
ong estranged from his family for a variety of reasons, Donne is approached by his sister (Susan Carter) who is concerned about their mother (Isabelle Donne) who languishes near death in a nursing home; Isabelle, suffering from Alzheimer's disease and dementia, has lately been talking about her long-deceased father who - according to Isabelle - had murdered someone. Coerced (and paid) by his brother-in-law (Franklin Carter) to at least visit and listen to Isabelle, Donne tears himself away from his job and his favorite past-time (drinking beer at the Olde Towne Tavern) long enough at least to visit his mother.
hen, a series of violent episodes further complicate Donne's life: Franklin Carter's Manhattan restaurant is destroyed when a nearby truck bomb explodes (and the law enforcement authorities waste no time in ruling out terrorism but instead believe Carter knows more than he is willing to admit); Donne's aunt and uncle are murdered (execution-style) in their New Jersey home (and Donne has a close encounter with the murderer as he makes his quick getaway from the couple's home); and, making matters even worse, Franklin is brutally assaulted and kidnapped (and the kidnapper(s) want plenty of money - and something more).
aced with entirely too many increasingly violent problems in his life, Donne quits his job at the storage facility and makes a pivotal decision (which, of course, he confides to his good friend, the bartender at the Olde Towne Tavern):
I have a new job. I'm going to find out what the hell is going on.
nd what does Donne find out? An unsavory chapter in his family's mysterious history means that someone is now bent on murderous revenge. So, Donne - if he is to save what is left of his family - must move quickly (in spite of obstacles put in his way by law enforcement and plenty of others) to solve a very cold case. Along the way to a solution, though, which will ultimately lead Donne to the brutal waterfront of Bayonne, New Jersey, the body-count is on the verge of becoming an epidemic.
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