OnceCrooked

Actor David McCallum, yes thatMcCallum, of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and now Ducky on NCIS, debuts a crime and espionage caper with just enough wry humor to let you know he had a ball writing it.

New York actor Harry Murphy could never imagine the consequences peeing in an alley against a building could bring. When he overhears the Bruschetti brothers plan their retirement, which includes the murder of their British connection, his conscience won’t allow him to forget what he’s overheard.

In true comedy of errors fashion, Harry decides to fly to England to warn the unlucky victim, but he’s mistaken for one of the mobsters’ associates and finds himself with a load of cash, fleeing from the bad guys. British authorities save him, but in order to clear himself, he’s soon on his way back to the US with the cleverly hidden cash and a comely British undercover agent accompanying him to flush out the brothers and put an end to their activities.

But that’s the crux: the brothers have decided to retire and go straight. Well, at least as straight as they possibly can. There will be shootouts, high speed chases, a probable drowning . . . and Harry really hoping he gets the voiceover for a mayonnaise commercial.

There’s plenty of action, along with the sly humor and impossible get-out-of-trouble adventures that remind readers of a bumbling James Bond.

With a surprising depth to the characters motivations, this is a clever and fun debut. Auntie M hopes McCallum will continue Harry’s adventures now that he’s had a taste for the wild life and plumbed his own plucky resolve.

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