Privateers by Charlie Newton [7/10]

Indiana Jones is alive and well, if more scabrous, and he is in cahoots with two beautiful deadly women … Charlie Newton is one of the most propulsive, immersive thriller writers in town and in “Privateers,” he embraces and updates the mystery quest idea, with wonderful results. Bill Owens, a Chicago hustler of knockdown character and a hidden heart of gold, becomes enmeshed in a quest, using clues from lines of hidden doggerel, to track down a ransom’s fortune of gold looted from Haiti a century ago. A pell-mell plot careens through the Caribbean towards a finale that grows, incredibly, ever more fraught. Newton inhabits his characters, the exotic locales spring to life, and the dialogue is a treat. There is an element of those boys’ own adventures from my childhood but it’s such a pleasure to surrender to the pleasures of “Privateers” for an evening or two. Grab this and hold on for the ride.

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