(Reviewed by J.D. Jung)
John, or “One Eyed Jack”, as they call him knows how to keep a secret…for a price. Let me add that he
has no problems finding someone with secrets. From the boss who is having an affair with his secretary, to the restaurant owner who didn’t get proper building permits. Let’s not forget doctors who double bill Medicare as well as those crooked accountants. Divulging these secrets can lead to divorce, job termination and even jail time. Not only is Jack gifted at uncovering these secrets, he’s also quite proficient in finding ways to make them lucrative. He “earns” lots of cash and acquires really sweet deals. From his laptop to his $40,000 bike and numerous vehicles, extortion has afforded him a nice lifestyle. His personal life is another story. Oh yes, the “One Eyed” part? As you can imagine, though profitable, it’s a dangerous line of work. One slip up and the worse can and will happen.
Other than that particular event, most cases are pretty non-eventful. However Jack had no idea that when he videotapes Marion Holtzinger during her usual mid-day trysts at the Peacock Hotel that this will lead to something a bit more complicated.
Marion informs Jack finds that she is being blackmailed by someone else. Not only does this slam his ego, but he realizes that if he helps her out, he can even make more dough. Oh yes, he does feel a little sorry for her. After all, he’s not a sociopath. There’s a little more to it though. Marion is privy to others’ secrets, too. When one is manipulating the oil markets, Jack find himself (and others) in jeopardy–maybe more than he can handle.
One Eyed Jack kept me engrossed from beginning to end. This fast-paced novel is written from Jack’s sarcastic perspective, so the style and character enhances the tight plot. Not only do we get enmeshed in this specific situation, but we get involved in Jack’s other cases as well as his personal life. Let’s just say, the personal life of an extortionist isn’t an easy one. Bits of romance are sprinkled throughout the story, showing “humanness” to Jack. Though I can’t say that I like Jack, I found myself rooting for him.
That’s another element that I appreciated about One Eyed Jack. It’s not a story about good versus evil. There’s a lot of gray in it. It would have also been so easy for this story to have gone to the level of absurdity. However author Christopher Lynch skillfully kept it just in the realm of possibility.
This is such a compelling first full-length novel for blackmailer John Sharp that I hope Lynch shares more of One Eyed Jack’s secrets with us. He still makes me feel uneasy; it will take me a few more novels for me to figure out how I feel about him as a person.
By the way…
After Jack takes footage of his victims, he places an envelope containing a DVD on their windshield. The sleeve includes the words:
Contact me at:
http://www.yoursecretsaresafe.com if you don’t want these to be made public. You have 24 hours.
If, like me, your curiosity gets the best of you and you decide to access this website: Beware!
Also, check out the book trailer: