Readers are in for a wild ride from the first page of Wiprud’s latest novel, which feels equal parts classic noir and modern crime novel, with wise-cracking, fedora-wearing characters and a modern industrial setting. The story has a unique premise, and Wiprud has a great talent for layering just enough complexity onto a central mystery, building suspense to the point where readers might turn the page with one hand while shielding their eyes with another, and for connecting all the dots with Christie-like panache.
Brooklyn resident Tom Davin is an insurance investigator working the museum circuit by recovering stolen art from museums and selling it back for a price. His ex-girlfriend has fled, sticking him with her four cats and a mound of debt, and Davin has plotted an art theft to pay off her bookie. But another party steals the paintings, and then people’s heads start exploding — literally — and both the cops and the local mob thinks Davin is responsible for the murders. (Minotaur, Jun., 320 pp., $24.99)