Root for divorced dad Austin Carr, a funny, oversexed scamp who’ll use anything and everything to get his kids back.
Divorced father Austin Carr wakes up every day in a beat-up camper, parked on someone else’s private property. Why? Because his alimony and child support payments were established by New Jersey’s family court system when his income was double, and for the last two years he has failed to earn the legally mandated monthly nut. He’s had his savings drained, his Maxima repossessed, his salary attached, and his visiting rights suspended. He bought the twelve-year-old Chevy pick-up with the rusty camper for $800 last month because another landlord tossed his butt in the street. Will stretching the rules, his own morals, and the boundaries of common sense raise the cash needed to get his kids back? Or will his big mouth and bad behavior set him up for a nasty double-cross? Find out if
Austin can redeem himself and win back his children.
Big Numbers is the first book in the Austin Carr Mystery series. Author Jack Getze states that the genre is Screwball Mystery, an apt description for a fun read.
Austin Carr has the worst luck. A successful stockbroker until the market crashed, Austin underwent some major changes in his lifestyle after the crash. His income, based solely on commissions from his clients' stock transactions, was cut in half. The worst consequence is that, because he can't make his alimony and child-support payments on his current salary, Austin's visitation rights with his two children have been suspended.
And then, there's all the people trying to kill him.
But none of this affects Austin's self-confidence. He believes that people will like him, because he gives them "the famous Carr smile." He gets people to go along with him, by flashing "the famous, full-boat Carr grin." He is irresistible to people, because of "the famous Carr charm."
Austin's story, charm and all, was irresistible to me. I couldn't put it down, because I just had to find out what would happen to Austin next, and ended up reading Big Numbers in one day. I am looking forward to reading Big Money and Big Mojo, the next books in Jack Getze's Screwball Mystery Austin Carr series.
I recommend Big Numbers to mystery fans, especially those who like their mystery splashed with a dash of noir, a pinch of zany, some thrilling, and a lot of funny. Big Numbers, by Jack Getze, rates Four out of five Kitties from Jane Reads — I really enjoyed it!
A Book Excerpt
My name’s Austin Carr. I’m a stockbroker. The slick expensive business cards in my wallet say I’m a Senior Financial Consultant for Shore Securities, Inc., Members of the American Association of Securities Dealers, but I’m really just a salesman and I work for myself. Straight commission. If I don’t sell, I don’t eat.
“Another margarita, Luis.”
A lot of people in my line of work call themselves investment counselors. They wear two-thousand-dollar Italian suits, carry alligator attaché cases, think and talk about themselves as professionals like doctors and lawyers. In truth, we’re closer kin to used car dealers, only more dangerous because losing your life savings is a tad worse than getting stuck with a leaky transmission.
It’s hard to sport illusions about yourself when you live in a camper. And I’ve always treated my clients with honesty, to the point of aggravating every sales manager I’ve ever had. Even so, keeping my self respect, I have not been thinking about this job in a favorable light. In fact, in the years since the market crashed, ruining my sales numbers, my finances, and more recently, any chance of being with my two children, Ryan and Beth, I’ve been wracking my brain, trying desperately to figure another way to earn a living.
“Another double?” Luis says.
Although no solution to my dilemma has yet presented itself, I’ve discovered it helps to ruminate in a positive setting: Luis’s Mexican Grill on Broad Street in Branchtown. The decor reminds me of home, Los Angeles, and Luis has an authentico Mexican chef, Cruz. Best of all, Luis works the bar himself every day.
“You are not going to work today?” Luis says.
“Careful, Luis. Your query borders on insult. In fact, I have already called work, only to discover that my monster client delayed our scheduled discourse until this afternoon. I stayed here this morning to spend some quality time with you and Cruz.”
“I recommend this be your final cocktail,” Luis says.
Dealing with numbers all the time is an ache in the ass, definitely, but my biggest problem with being a stockbroker is having to spend all day on the money machine, dialing for dollars, calling busy people at the wrong time, apologizing because the back office screwed up a check, downplaying the risks of an investment to exaggerate the benefits, dancing investors from one asset to another so I can take part of their principal as commission. To be a successful stockbroker, you have to be slightly larcenous.
I lick the wet salt from the rim of my still empty margarita glass. Of course I never worried about little things like morality while I was netting five- to ten-thousand dollars a month. It’s only been since my income dropped by more than half, and mainly since I lost physical contact with my children that I search for the social significance of securities sales.
Former Los Angeles Times reporter Jack Getze is Fiction Editor for Anthony nominated Spinetingler Magazine, one of the internet’s oldest websites for noir, crime, and horror short stories. Through the Los Angeles Times/Washington Post News Syndicate, his news and feature stories were published in over five-hundred newspapers and periodicals worldwide. His two screwball mysteries, BIG NUMBERS and BIG MONEY, are being reissued by DOWN & OUT BOOKS, with the new BIG MOJO to follow. His short stories have appeared in A Twist of Noir and Beat to a Pulp. Getze is an Active Member of Mystery Writers of America’s New York Chapter.
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Note: I received an ARC of Big Numbers from the author, with no expectation of a positive review.