With a mentally handicapped daughter functioning at the level of an eight year old and a wife going into the downside of multiple sclerosis, Big Apple bar owner Jimmie Collins has been dealt a difficult hand. While it is not his nature to complain about such profoundly bad luck, Jimmie does find it difficult to keep his two ladies properly cared for while trying to build up enough of a nest egg to retire on. To make ends meet with a little left over, Jimmie has carefully cultivated a tight network of friends and a quiet little fencing operation. He countered these “slightly illegal” operations by overseeing an enormous toy charity and taking special care of his regular customers including acting as matchmaker.Over the years, Jimmie amassed a sizeable retirement savings of seven million dollars stashed in overseas accounts, which ought to keep his family well provided for. When Jimmie is diagnosed with terminal cancer, his close-knit network of friends vows to take care of him while procuring his savings from the overseas accounts. Best intentions run into some serious snags, not the least being Jimmie’s death and empty accounts. His friends attempt to make good on their promises and rapidly find themselves in trouble as they follow the missing money.
The diverse, well-developed characters have their share of interpersonal hang-ups and dating scene nightmares. These, in combination with perverse humor set in that gray zone between absolute right and wrong make for an entertaining read as the cast of friends try to honor Jimmie’s wishes. It helps to have spent some time in New York to fully appreciate the perspective and occasional black humor that makes this such a treat.