Thomas, Ross. The Backup Men.New York: William Morrow & Company, 1971.
Reason read: Thomas was born in the month of February. Read in his honor.
Mac McCorkle and Mike Padillo are “saloon” keepers in Washington D.C. They came to Washington after their place of the same name in Bonn on the banks of the Rein had been blown up. Oddly enough, despite their reputations, their Washington D.C. establishment has yet to be assaulted. Despite the fact they are trying to put their pasts behind them and keep their noses clean, through various mishaps they find themselves with a new job, to protect a young man from assassination. Peter Paul Kassim is on the brink of becoming King of Llaquah, a country that has recently discovered it sits on nearly 100 billion barrels of oil reserves. Kassim stands in the way of political enemies who are extremely interested in getting Kassim out of the way.
The Backup Men is a fast paced suspense novel, but what really hold the story together is McCorkle and Padillo’s relationship. Their characters and conversations are witty, humorous and at times, utterly astonishing.
As an aside: From everything I have read, The Backup Men is not a continuation of a series, but rather has some of the same characters from previous novels. From what I could tell, it was not necessary to read the previous stories in order to understand The Backup Men.
Edited to add the only quote that I liked, “That type of revenge was based on rage which, if heated to the right temperature, can make any action, no matter how foolish, seem coldly logical and completely justified… (p 154). I won’t quote the whole sentence because it involves the word “baby” and the verb “slam.”
Author fact: Thomas wrote a ton of books. I have 24 of them on my list.
Book trivia: Many of Thomas’s books have reoccurring characters. The Backup Men is the third book to include Mac and Mike (Mac McCorkle and Mike Padillo). Both characters were first introduced in The Cold War Swap (also on my list).
Nancy said: Absolutely nothing.
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Ross Thomas: Too Good To Miss” (p 234).