Review: “Old Money,” Bobby Cole

Pros: Basic interesting thriller
Cons: So. Many. Stupid. Characters.
Rating: 2 out of 5

Bobby Cole’s Old Money is about Jake Crosby, a newly-minted game warden who’s had a mid-life change of career. He’s making a lot less money now, which isn’t exactly easy on his family; he gets talked into taking some huge risks on behalf of Judge Rothbone, an old friend whose wife is seriously ill. Soon Jake and his partner Virgil are carrying out an illegal surveillance on two local con artists, hoping to find a legendary stash of money their father supposedly left behind. In the process they find out about another crime being committed, and decide to apprehend the criminals themselves.

 

This book drove me nuts. The characters all seem to behave so stupidly. When you’re a con artist working with two other (potentially dangerous) con artists you’ve never met before, you say “no thanks” when one of them offers you peanuts, rather than telling them how easily they could kill you with those. Jake plunges straight into illegal surveillance and ignoring the rest of his job in order to chase con artists in the hopes of getting money for the judge (despite the fact that this is supposed to be his dream job). Virgil, his partner, pushes him into even greater heights of stupidity (the illegal surveillance was his idea), as they try to take on the con artists even though they see that their targets are being tailed by other law enforcement agencies. ‘Cause, you know, when you’re using illegal means in the hopes of illegally seizing someone else’s money, you really want to do it by cock-blocking the Secret Service. They’re sure to be happy for the help (in case you didn’t notice, that’s sarcasm there).

The wardens plan to move on the con artists when they find out they’re illegally selling an artifact… but when they find out the artifact is a fake (don’t worry, this is clear from the start, thus not a spoiler), and thus that there isn’t a major law being broken, they still decide to use it as an excuse to arrest the bad guys. Why? What would that even accomplish?

Some of the descriptions are not thought through enough:

This was not a dangerous deal, beyond the considerable danger of being caught with millions of dollars of counterfeit money.

What?! Just… what?! “This isn’t dangerous, except that it’s dangerous.”

In the early parts of the book the author goes crazy over-explaining things to the audience. He even has to tell us what Jake’s jacket and pistol “represent” to him. This is particularly a problem for a book that’s supposed to be a thriller, which relies heavily on pacing.

The entire novel can be summed up as: “Money makes people stupid.” Toward the end I was starting to feel like I needed the Yackety Sax music playing in the background. Hell, the initial crime that starts off the book (someone holding up rich hunters for their valuable rifles and expensive watches) is only solved by accident, and is largely forgotten for most of the book.

I felt very frustrated with Old Money, and I wouldn’t recommend it.

 

NOTE: Book provided free for review by publisher.
Expected publication date: February 23, 2016

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