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Book review: <i>Green To Go</i> by John H Cunningham

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the cover of the book

Buck Reilly is back! In a fast paced romp across continents, joined by his long suffering mechanic and the faithful Betty, Buck is fighting for his reputation and his life with his quirky charm and a whole lot of luck. But will his luck run out when he is stranded in the last place in the world he wants to be?

The story

The story begins fairly much where the previous Buck Reilly adventure, Red Right Return, ended. Buck solved the riddle of his father's code to access his parent's locked box in Switzerland, but as it turns out, this just leads to a bigger mystery. He's just as broke as ever, and his girlfriend isn't sticking around forever. It's time to settle some old scores and try for a win, but first he needs the maps he lost.

On his way home one night, drunk out of his skull, he sees something he isn't supposed to see. Thankfully, he doesn't actually remember it, but it turns out that that isn't a great excuse for witnessing one of the biggest treasure heists in the history of Florida. When he realises the life of a friend is at stake, and he's under pressure from the CIA, he decides to take matters into his own hands.

It's going to take all Buck's considerable skills to negotiate this one when it turns out the theft isn't just a political minefield pulling him all the way down to Panama. His old foes in Cuba are still feeling less than forgiving, and they are very, very involved. This time, it's going to take a miracle.

If only Buck would learn Spanish!

The style

I noticed it in the last Buck Reilly adventure, and I'm going to say it again. John Cunningham's ability to keep the story light-hearted while tackling some interesting political issues is really excellent. Buck is such a great character, downtrodden and sincere in his failure but also retaining a level of hope and positivity that keeps the reader rooting for him through the whole book. Any story about Buck could be a winner, but the fact that Cunningham puts him in theoretical Cuba right after the death of the Castro brothers, or in the middle of a heist of gold with political significance, is a testament to Cunningham's ability to spin a really engaging story while making the reader think.

It isn't just Buck who's great, all the characters seem effortlessly well rounded. I appreciate Cunningham's way of creating characters who, at first glance, could be light hearted clichés, but there's always something more about them. It keeps the reading experience light and comfortable, but lets the reader feel as though they're really getting something out of the book. I was pretty sure I could tell where it was going, but there were a couple of suspenseful occasions where I was gripping the book, hoping that this wasn't it for old Buck!

I don't know what it is about Miami, but it sure does produce some quality reads. Cunningham again throws out some stunning lines and descriptive passages. He has a lovely way of making the reader feel right there, and completely invested in the action. Hopefully Buck makes a reappearance soon!

Who is this book for?

This would be an excellent holiday read. Public transport read. Gift. It's not challenging or difficult to get through, and it keeps you wanting more.

If you like this book, you would also like...

Obviously, Cunningham's first novel, Red Right Return. And there's also Carl Hiaasen, another Miami story-teller with a penchant for the light hearted with an environmental twist.

In short

Title: Green To Go: A Buck Reilly Adventure
Author: John H Cunningham
Publisher: Greene Street, LLC
ISBN: 985442217
Year published: 2012
Genre(s): Adventure, Detective Fiction
Review Type: