Thursday, July 21, 2011

(A Different Take on) Plugged by Eoin Colfer

(Dear Reader, I would have posted this simply as a comment on Norm's post, but Blogger doesn't allow for formatting on comments.)

Reading Eoin Colfer always makes me feel like I've stumbled into Boy World. As the mother of three girls, I can't rightly claim to know a lot about what Boy World looks like, but I'm fairly sure there would be fighting, swearing, gizmos and fart jokes. In the techno/fantasy Artemis Fowl series, for example, one character has the ability to burrow through the earth by virtue of his unhingeable, super-strong jaw. Of course, all that pulverized stone has to go somewhere and in Boy World, that need is too irresistible not to address. And yet, Colfer's playful ease with language hooks me like those neighborhood boys who used to revel in telling us girls dirty jokes. Repellingly intriguing, repellingly funny.

In Plugged, Daniel McEvoy, Irish ex-army, ex-pat with a psychological need to pro-tect, finds himself embroiled in a noir-ish* nightmare, trying to solve the murder of his could-be girlfriend, hostess at the seedy casino for which he serves as a bouncer. Accompanying Dan on his self-appointed mission is the subconscious voice of his presumed-dead friend, who practiced plastic surgery without the benefit of a license, morals and probably sobriety. Like Artemis, McEvoy also strikes an uneasy partnership with an extremely confident (see definition 7) female cop, unlike Artemis, McEvoy is fully adult. The Adult Situations never stray beyond the PG-13 range, although the Action and Language would likely encourage those MPAA folk to dial up the rating. Which brings up a pet peeve: Colfer's writing does sometimes seem like a novel in search of a screenplay. On the other hand, the quippy dialogue would probably play well and this is Boy World without the gross adolescent humor so prevalent in current “comedies.”

This one's not going to win the Pulitzer, but I found it enjoyable for a light read.

*If noir-ish means battling an existential crisis simultaneously battling dudes from the seething underbelly. But in a funny way.

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