The Barkeep by William Lashner

The Barkeep by William LashnerSummary:

Justin Chase is the perfect barkeep, tending bar as he lives his life, in a state of Zen serenity. At least until Birdie Grackle, a yellow-haired, foul-mouthed alcoholic from Texas, walks into his bar, orders a Mojito, and makes a startling confession. Six years ago Justin’s life was ripped apart when he discovered his mother’s bludgeoned corpse in the foyer of the family home. Now Justin’s father is serving a life sentence and Justin, after a stint in an asylum, drowns his emotions in a pool of inner peace. But when Birdie Grackle claims to be the hit man who murdered Justin’s mother for the money, Justin is hurled back to the emotions, the past, and, most frightening of all, the father he tried to leave behind.

My take: 2.5 looks

An entertaining read, for sure. I was drawn in from the startling revelation at the end of the first chapter, and held, for the most part, through the majority of the book. While some of the other reviews cite the characters as being flat and stereotypical, I found it to read more like a noir book from Hammett or Cain. I am not comparing the quality to these authors, merely the style.

The one problem I had with the book, and keeping me from a hearty recommendation, was the plot. It became so convoluted and ultimately unbelievable that, if the end was not already in sight, I may have put this one down. I agree with another reviewer that “the plot became overly complicated in an effort to give us surprise twists”. As a matter of fact, I am still not sure exactly what happened or who the true murderer was. Unfortunately, I wasn’t invested enough to reread to find out.

Since there are so many other great mystery/thrillers available, this one is not recommended.

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