Nice guy Rick Boski always seems to wind up on the wrong end of fate’s boot. Rick was so desperate to earn money to keep his wife Marietta happy that he took a third job guarding a dope plantation, then fell asleep and was still asleep when the cops arrested him. Rick should have been out of jail in six months but couldn’t stand idly by while some angry inmates knifed a fellow inmate, a bent ex-cop. His altruism earned him another twelve-months inside. But he didn’t waste his time. Now he’s out with a brand new plan to change his life and maybe win back his wife. Rick’s plan is coffee.
It is the year 2000 and Rick can see that coffee is the industry of the future. He is going to open his own café with a prison theme – fold-down bunks for seating, bolted tables, bars that can be slid across to give the sensation of being in jail. He’s done the math and he knows he has a sure-fire winner. Borrowing money isn’t easy for an ex-con but drug-dealer Guthrie, is prepared to loan him the money. Of course, non-payment will lead to dire consequences but Rick isn’t worried on account of he has a term deposit maturing in time to repay the loan. The problem is Rick has never bothered to close the joint account he had with Marietta always thinking that was confirmation they'd never get back together. Marietta has now fallen in love with Thaiphoon Tony, a junior Asian kick-boxing champion, and needs big bucks to secure him a title fight but doesn't have fifteen dollars let alone fifteen grand ... until she looks in the old joint bank account and finds it flush. She always intends to pay Rick back but for now, she thinks she needs it more than he does. So when the day of reckoning arrives to pay his loan shark, Rick discovers his bank account is empty. Fate, has crushed him again, and Guthrie’s goons will shortly crush him in a much more painful manner.
But then fate seems to turn. Cell-phones are just starting to gain popularity and Rick’s new phone looks like most others so it’s not that surprising that he happens to pick up the wrong one from the betting shop. He knows who it must belong to – a shifty guy carrying a package. But before he can give the phone back Rick gets a call on the phone. `We have the twenty-five grand, do you have the package?” What else could this be but a drug-deal, figures Rick. All he has to do is pretend he has drugs and swap a worthless pack of icing sugar for the cash. Only trouble is the package turns out to be the sexy, glamorous, dangerous Zeen - exactly the kind of girl Rick falls in love with.
In the richest square mile of dirt in the world a bunch of triple-crossing desperados will have their fate determined by a state-of-the-art espresso machine.
eXXXpresso is an Antipodean, Elmore Leonard style adventure by author Dave Warner winner of Australia’s premier crime-fiction prize, the Ned Kelly Award.
Great story but…
Love Dave Warner’s books but this is so poorly typeset it’s near impossible to read. Spelling and punctuation errors on every other line. Why do publishers think e-books can be sloppy? As for the story, puts me in mind of Carl Hiaasen, entertaining if you can cope with the errors.