Edgar Award Finalist: In El Salvador, a young American faces his troubled past—and a dangerous present.
Jude McManus has landed on his feet. Following time in the army, he scored work as an “executive protection specialist” in El Salvador, where he safeguards a hydrologist for good money and gets to surf during his downtime. But this slice of paradise comes with post-civil-war dangers, and distance won’t erase his cruel memories of Chicago. Ten years earlier, his cop father was outed as part of the Laugh Masters, a group of police officers investigated for robbing and brutally beating drug dealers. In the wake of the scandal, the family fell apart, and his father died under suspicious circumstances. When McManus gets a call from Bill Malvasio—one of his dad’s closest friends and an escaped member of the Laugh Masters, now living in El Salvador—the past comes knocking in a big way. Malvasio opens up about what really happened, and seeks help for another member of McManus’s father’s old crew. Is the disgraced ex-cop being straight with McManus? Hidden corruption abounds, and it will take all of McManus’s wits to come away with the truth—and his life—intact.
Corbett's third novel, a moving if somewhat directionless thriller, is as much a political statement as it is crime fiction. Jude McManus, a young American bodyguard assigned to keep watch over a business executive working for an El Salvador bottling plant, is approached by Bill Malvasio, an old Chicago police partner of McManus's late father, who, along with another cop, was fired from the force for corruption. Malvasio, who fled the U.S. for El Salvador during the scandal, wants to hire McManus to return to Chicago and bring back the third member of the trio. McManus accepts the job because Malvasio's reason seems benevolent there's a job waiting, and the old partner has fallen on hard times. It's a decision McManus soon regrets. Corbett (Done for a Dime) spends an inordinate amount of time explaining the wreck that El Salvador has become since the civil war of the 1980s. While interesting in small doses, the sociopolitics detracts from a meandering plot already lacking in suspense and punch.