(Note: I was given a copy of this book to review but my opinions are my own.)
In Mink Eyes by Max McBride, Peter O’Keefe is a Vietnam veteran who is on the verge of becoming an alcoholic. He runs a small private investigation firm. While he’s a good PI, he struggles to hold the office together.
His best friend, who is a lawyer, hires him to look into a mink farm. The man who owns it gets people to buy two minks. The minks then ‘do what comes naturally’ (have babies). The minks keep reproducing, their pelts are sold, and voilá people make tons of money!
But the lawyer believes it’s a Ponzi scheme.
OKeefe heads to the farm to check things out and discovers there is more than just a scam going on. Jane, the secretary explains how Lenny, the mink farm owner, had started spending big — buying fancy cars, expensive jewelry for his wife, going on exotic trips. Now Lenny is missing and his wife is selling off things as fast as she can.
After looking at the farm’s ledger, O’Keefe discovers that investments over the last year had significantly dropped. Lenny had made significant deposits and withdrawals but there wasn’t any description in the ledger to indicate what they were for. And then there were the huge investments made by ‘Mr. Canada.’
O’Keefe finds Tag, Lenny’s wife, at her home (and is immediately enamored by her). Thugs attempt to kill Tag but O’Keefe rescues her. There’s murder, money laundering, and cocaine smuggling going on and it seems that everyone has their own agenda which collides with that of the others!
I liked how O’Keefe was a flawed character. He wasn’t perfect. He was divorced (which let’s us know that he failed at marriage). He wants to be a good father but his work (and drinking) makes that difficult. He’s a good PI but struggles at times because of his drinking. He’s interested in his secretary, Sarah, but doesn’t pursue her (and I wanted him to). Even though he drinks far too much, he still has the self discipline to carry out a stiff exercise regime of sit-ups, side straddle hops, squat thrusts, leg lifts, push ups, and running on the treadmill. (And he likes to listen to Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 so he can’t be all that bad, can he?)
You know, some books are absolute page turners, ones you can’t put down. You end up reading until the wee hours of the morning until your eyes feel gritty from lack of sleep.
Mink Eyes isn’t like that.
However, this book held my interest. I did care about O’Keefe. I wanted him to step up and be a good father. I wanted him to stop drinking so much. I wanted him to hold his employees together so that they would keep working for him. And, of course, I wanted him to get to the bottom of the mink farm Ponzi scheme, to find Lenny, and to rescue Tag.
I recommend this book. But, keep in mind that this is McBride’s first novel. I think he has great potential and look forward to his next book!