What Goes Around Comes Around in “Bad Karma” by Dwight Holing

This book gets:

Theft, murder, extortion, blackmail, and kidnapping. What else could you ask for in caper fiction?

Jack McCoul’s legit now. He’s gone the straight path, ever since he met and married Katie, but when his old partner, Bobby Ballena shows up at his home, Jack smells trouble.

And trouble does come in the form of a murdered CEO, Bobby and a priceless artifact gone missing, Mumbai Mafia, and trolls trying to take Jack’s new business – app making.

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Characters

The best thing about Bad Karma is Jack’s voice and character. He’s the King of Sass, as far as I’m concerned. The way he describes people, places, and events are colorful and distinct. He’s not bland or plain, which in genre fiction, is very important.

In short, he’s a very memorable and fun narrator.

There are other memorable characters, too. His secretary/manager/assistant Moana is a bad ass, tattooed older woman who loves her plants and isn’t afraid to stared down the barrel of a gun. His app maker/employee/intern Do Pray is smart, but should’ve had more screen time. Hark, his hermano, is cool, brave, and certainly not the diversity-hire character here.

Even Jack’s wife, Katie is, while sweet, also brave and deep. The only thing I find really annoying is that whenever Jack says something funny, she says, “Stop.” That is written like five times or more in the story and although it did add distinction to her character, it was also annoying to read over and over again.

Pacing

Considering that this is a caper story, I’ll let it slide that the pacing wasn’t exactly “fast-paced”. While there was an urgency to save Katie’s best friend, Laura, from being imprisoned for a crime she didn’t commit, the story’s mood is humorous (Jack’s a pretty funny guy), and sometimes laid-back when no one’s shooting at Jack and his friends, or no one’s threatening their lives.

Bad Karma's antagonists are smart, unexpected, and powerful.
Bad Karma’s antagonists are smart, unexpected, and powerful.

There were also some typos (just two or three, I guess, including the Midsummer’s Night Dream, which made me cringe a bit).

Also, the text messages! I know there’s text vocab and all, but it’s really frustrating to look up the internet just to read a string of letters. Slang is good, a testament of time and place, but if overused, it becomes irritating and bothersome.

All in all, the book is a great read. If you enjoy humorous mystery stories, the Jack McCoul series is a great one, with lots of nice characters.

Published: May 15, 2015; Jackdaw Press | Amazon | Goodreads

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