Car Wash Blues: A Mick Murphy Key West Mystery
by Michael Haskins
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781432825805
Date: 15 August 2012
Unfortunately for writer Mick Murphy, a Mexican drug cartel wants two million dollars stolen fifteen years ago in Tijuana. A rival cartel interferes. Both groups will stop at nothing to achieve their ends. Once the shooting starts, it can only end in murder.
A murder in a Key West car wash raises old secrets and embroils writer Mick Murphy in Mexican drug cartel wars. The man Mick kills in self-defense was a cartel member and so was the other man who escaped after killing a Miami man with drug links.
Years ago Mick was involved in a scam to catch some drug dealers in Tijuana. He and a DEA agent captured the money, but Mick's fiancée is killed. The money disappeared and now the cartel wants it back and will stop at nothing to get it. When the cartel learns Mick is alive and in Key West, they send men to retrieve the money, but Mick doesn't have it and has no idea what happened to it. A rival cartel wants Mick dead to annoy the first cartel.
Mike's friend Pauly takes him for a ride and cartel members follow. The high speed chase takes them through several islands and ends in a shootout with two cars leaving several dead, but Mick and Pauly escape injury. A boat ride with another friend through the mangrove swamp leads to more murders, but of the cartel members and not Mick or his friend.
A Mexican drug officer and Mick's old friend Norm Burke want him to help stop incursions of the cartels to U.S. soil. Mick faces two choices, stay or flee. However, fleeing leaves his friends in danger and the cartel will not give up pursuit. All Mick's friends and any innocent bystanders are at risk.
Fortunately for Mick, he had loyal friends with the skills and tools needed for survival. Norm has promised protection to Mick and his lover Tita. However, the ruthless cartel won't let a few agents stand in their way. Mick believes Norm hasn't told him the truth about the operation and looks for other ways to survive and defeat the cartel after a casual acquaintance is tortured and killed.
The stakes rise after several shootings and the deaths of those assigned to protect Mick and Tita. Then, Tita is kidnapped and a hurricane makes finding her more difficult. The body count keeps rising, and only the skills of Mick's friends keep him safe.
Haskins provides plenty of excitement and mayhem. He also adds hints of paranormal abilities in Padre Thomas who senses Mick's danger and has a mental link to Tita. The language used may offend some as will the gratuitous murders and torture. However, Haskins keeps the pages turning and provides an exciting climax with some surprises. More of Mick's adventures are certain to follow.