If you're gonna box an octopus, best bring some extra arms
At the height of tourist season, an armored car drives off a crowded pier and sinks to the bottom of San Francisco Bay. By the time divers find the wreck, the cash is gone and the driver has vanished. The police are convinced it's an inside job, but local merchant Vera Young, whose boyfriend drove the armored car, claims it was much more than a simple heist.
Vera swears the missing driver is innocent and wants him found before the police can throw him in jail. Private investigator Cape Weathers reluctantly takes the case but warns Vera that her boyfriend is likely guilty—or dead. What starts as a manhunt uncovers a criminal conspiracy of money laundering, illegal drug testing, and a network of corporations willing to do anything to protect their stock price. It's a case that Cape can't get his arms around, and his relationship with Vera is getting complicated while the list of people who want him dead is getting longer.
Boxing The Octopus is a runaway tour of San Francisco's underworld which reminds us that when things get out of hand, having eight arms is always better than two.
Early in Maleeny's zany fourth mystery featuring San Francisco PI Cape Weathers (after 2008's Greasing the Pi ata), Hank, the driver of an armored car loaded with cash, is waiting in his vehicle on a pier for his partner to show up. Then a forklift drives onto the pier followed by a UPS truck. The forklift raises the armored car and its driver flees. A moment later, the truck crashes into the forklift, causing the car to topple into the bay. By the time the car is pulled from the drink, Hank and the money are gone. The missing man's girlfriend asks Cape to find Hank and prove his innocence. Soon Cape is up to his ears in international plots and evil schemes, his "moral compass spinning like a weathervane." Among the disparate characters he encounters are a mad doctor, greedy industrialists, Hong Kong gangsters, and a pirate. Oscar, a sentient octopus, plays an important role in the frenetic finale. Maleeny provides some fast-paced, cheeky fun, along with a splash of social consciousness. Readers will hope they won't have to wait 11 years for the next installment.