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COBRA CLUTCH
by A.L. Devlin
NeWest Press, April 2018
265 pages
$18.95 CAD
ISBN: 1988732247


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

First time novelist A J. Devlin hits the ball out of the park with COBRA CLUTCH. Retired wrestler and sometime bouncer Jed Ounstead is searching for his wrestling buddy Johnny Mamba's pet python Ginger, when he finds Johnny dead and stuffed in a Porta-Potty. Ginger too has bit the big one.

Jed commits to finding out who killed Johnny and Ginger. He is ably assisted by his Irish cousin Declan St. James, retired IRA operative and recent immigrant to Canada. He also has the resources of his father's private investigation agency, started after his father retired from the Vancouver Police.

This mission becomes more and more dangerous for Jed but he is helped by his wrestling skills fighting villains with his famous Head Butt From Hell and the notorious Cobra Clutch. He can take a beating. In fact, he takes many before the crime is solved. But when his father is also kidnapped by the kingpin of Vancouver's underground, Jed knows that more than his wrestling moves will be needed to save them both.

He has a very complicated plan, involving his scary ex-IRA cousin, his father's biggest rival in the PI business, and a suitcase full of guns, described in graphic detail. If you have read many hardcore murder mysteries, you know that this plan will fail and the hero will have to think on his feet to beat this gang. He is alone on the Lions Gate Bridge against a van with blacked-out windows, several motorcycles, and at least five gang members. Smashing the Jeep Cherokee into the black van that holds his father does not seem like a very smart idea.

But since the "Hammerhead" Jed Series is only Devlin's first, you know Jed will figure it all out. And he does in a spectacular scene that will remain in my memory as one of the best dustups I have ever read.

COBRA CLUTCH is a terrific novel, bringing the seamier side of Vancouver to life, while amusing us with witty dialogue, startling characters and amazing plot twists. When Jed joins his father's PI agency at the end of the novel, we know we are in for many more "Hammerhead" Jed novels. Can't wait!

Susan Hoover is a playwright, independent producer and retired college English teacher. She lives in Nova Scotia.

Reviewed by Susan Hoover, March 2018

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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