Black Boat Dancing (Con Maknazpy) (Volume 2)
Publisher : Piper's Head
Description

The new cold war is heating up - pump primed by oil and the race to control the pipelines. Cyber warriors mine the dark side of international finance. Their money trail stretches from Macau and New York to Rio de Janeiro, Cyprus, Beirut and Odessa, and the finance lines of governments and gangsters criss cross through Ukraine and Crimea. When Jorginho the Black Hat hacker goes AWOL in Portugal with the secrets of America's role in the Arab Spring rebellions, Maknazpy is enlisted to bring him back - dead or alive. Maknazpy tracks the runaway through the narrow streets of old Lisbon until he is betrayed and the hunter becomes the hunted. Juggling a hot money scam and cold war treachery, only his animal cunning for self preservation keeps him one step ahead of his US handlers, Chinese Military Intelligence, the Russian Mafia and a Brazilian street gang. No one has a monopoly on moral authority in this dark world and Maknazpy is no knight-errant asserting the moral good - and that's why he may just survive.



The Story Behind This Book
The great Raymond Chandler said, "Mystery and the solution of the mystery are only what I call 'the olive in the Martini'. The really good mystery is one you would read even if you knew somebody had torn out the last chapter." As it so happens, Maknazpy is treated to a Speedbird cocktail prepared by the gangster boss and aspirant mixologist, Yakov. -- The lights flickered behind the bar as Yakov plucked the props for his next act; Tanqueray No. TEN, peach vermouth, two grapefruits and a lime. ‘You can laugh now but, believe me, you are at the crossroads of your life, Mr Maknazpy.’ His big hands pulped the grapefruit dry, then nimbly scraped the lime skin. ‘You sound like my old man,’ I said. ‘What’s next? A lecture on ethics and morals?’ Yakov pulled down two crystal sherry glasses. He noticed something on one of them and held it up to the light like it was a chalice, checked for lipmarks around the rim and frowned at the blemish before smashing it against the wall. He rooted around for an acceptable glass, then poured and stirred with an artist’s exaggerated concentration. ‘If you were Russian you would know there is supposed to be a difference between ethics and morals,’ he said. ‘Me? I don’t believe in that shit. We make it up as we go along. We all do, not just people like you and me, but everybody; governments, religions, the man in the street, even the Party. People like us are just more honest about it.’ He flicked a dash of clear syrup and placed the glasses on the bar like they might explode in our faces if he didn’t do it slowly and carefully. ‘No ice?' I joked. 'No cocktail umbrellas?’ ‘Barbarian!’ --- Stitching a story like this together is another form of mixology, and for me (and I'll let the readers speak for themselves) the location is the vermouth. Black Boat Dancing is set, mostly, in Lisbon. --- Castelo de São Jorge is the cherry on the Lisbon tourist cake. The ‘You are Here’ board said some sort of military had drilled their presence into this rock since at least the 6th Century, but Romans, Moors and Crusaders had all flipped their style on it before moving on. From up here, it looked like more than one castle, with wings and walls layered and looped to stump any knight or dragon. About the same footprint as Yankee Stadium, maybe bigger, and the same sweeping grandeur engineered to intimidate the enemy. We settled in a nook overlooking the city and the showboat river. Freezing up here, almost 8 a.m. and the sun inked through the fractured streets far below. A forest of TV aerials sprouted through the carpet of red roof tiles, pierced a rustic spine of hieroglyphs across the Lisbon sky, receding into the distance of half light and history. The great gates would open at 9 a.m. for the tourist siege, and we could hear the cheery early staff whistle and laugh down in the shadows. Just an hour or so and we would mingle our way out of Luis’ Alfama neighborhood. --- And down below the Castle in Alfama --- The streets looked even tighter in daylight. Not wide enough for two cars to pass, splitting off at random into alleyways that would squeeze a scooter, like somebody had decided to build the houses first and then thought about the streets afterwards. The rain had mellowed to a misty drizzle and the choked sun still didn’t stretch into these narrow ravines but the bleached walls and baked cobbles leaked their ingrained luster, the City of Light releasing its hoarded sunshine to keep the winter darkness at bay. We came out on to Rua das Escolas Gerais now, São Vicente was to our north and not too distant, as far as I could tell. We were working out which way to go when a bell clanged behind us, a yellow tram just like the ones they have in San Francisco. It passed and stopped just in front of us so that made our minds up, we ran down and jumped on. Ferdy struggled to find the correct coins, I went down back and grabbed seats beside two fat French tourists who insisted on standing. Ferdy slid in beside me and we clinked off, swaying around impossible corners and missing parked automobiles by inches. The French guys held on to the handrails, just the right height to smother Ferdy with their sweaty armpits. His sour face twisted more when I started ‘Oh Cora Baby’ in his ear. We followed everyone else off at a street near the castle, then asked directions from a few people until we found it. Rua São Vicente was pretty neat; room for two cars, mostly, three or four storey houses opening right on to the street, no fences or steps to the doors. All painted a creamy beige color, or tiled with small decorative brown tiles, black metal grilles over the windows and around the balconies on the higher floors. Washing hanging to dry above our heads, sprayed graffiti on a boarded up shop, the smell and noise of lunch cooking, it was just a regular street, but we weren’t seeing it like tourists. --- Sintra is an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and became the first centre of European Romantic architecture in the 19th Century. --- Sintra was one weird place. A set for Transylvanian vampires and Disney fairies, each screwball pile outdoing the next, one precipice after another annexed so a trophy palace could bathe in public homage. High cone chimneys like nightmare klan headgear, decorated cake towers that tin soldiers should guard, rooftops straight out of the Forbidden City. No wonder the sign said it was a World Heritage Site. Five tour coaches waited their turn to twist up the forest paths, even at this time of year. Traffic in the small town slowed to the walking pace of the crowds that couldn’t fit on the sidewalk. Sharp mountains draped black with tight forest. Summer retreats for Portuguese royalty and bought flashness of Lisbon rich. This was a cool place to hide. --- To be fair to readers, I should warn that this isn't a mystery where Maknazpy will find a neat olive in the bottom of his glass at the end. Anyway, I think of Maknazpy as more of a 'Gibson' man, so he is more likely to be rewarded with a pickled onion at the finale.


Praise and Reviews

 

"We are in the realm of tough guys doing tough guy things against other tough guys. There is something about author Gerard Cappa's style, as well as his hero Con Maknazpy, that carries echoes of Dashiell Hammett and the Continental Op. All the classic elements of the detective crime thriller are there: the smart-mouthed dame, nightclubs, les femmes fatale, and bodies scattered across the pages like raspberries on your morning cornflakes – A cracking good tale" Manhattan Book Review

"Cappa's perspective is similar to that presented in Max Friedman's book ‘Rethinking Anti-Americanism’. Specifically, international actors sometimes characterized as innately anti-American change their positions as America's policies change. And the same holds for the position of the U.S. with regard to Russia, China, and the broad span of Middle Eastern nations: if their policies are consistent with ours, we can work together, or at least not be at each others' throats. Loaded with action, stabs-in-the-back, heart-felt loss, tense standoffs and even a hint of mysticism. Complex, indeed" - Robert Bickel

 

"Mix of subtle allusion, rapidly paced violent set-pieces, and character reflection - I like the conversations his characters engage in about politics, capitalism, greed" – John L Murphy


"You come out of the novel knowing, like Maknazpy, that whatever the truth today, especially if it is truth as defined by the CIA, it will be different tomorrow. The action is non-stop and the sound of the jigsaw continual. This can lead to a dizzying experience for the reader. Take your time over each chapter, savor the dialog and enjoy the pieces coming together" - John J Gaynard

The new cold war is heating up - pump primed by oil and the race to control the pipelines. Cyber warriors mine the dark side of international finance. Their money trail stretches from Macau and New York to Rio de Janeiro, Cyprus, Beirut and Odessa, and the finance lines of governments and gangsters criss cross through Ukraine and Crimea. When Jorginho the Black Hat hacker goes AWOL in Portugal with the secrets of America's role in the Arab Spring rebellions, Maknazpy is enlisted to bring him back - dead or alive.
Maknazpy tracks the runaway through the narrow streets of old Lisbon until he is betrayed and the hunter becomes the hunted.
Juggling a hot money scam and cold war treachery, only his animal cunning for self preservation keeps him one step ahead of his US handlers, Chinese Military Intelligence, the Russian Mafia and a Brazilian street gang.

No one has a monopoly on moral authority in this dark world and Maknazpy is no knight-errant asserting the moral good - and that's why he may just survive.

"We are in the realm of tough guys doing tough guy things against other tough guys. There is something about author Gerard Cappa's style, as well as his hero Con Maknazpy, that carries echoes of Dashiell Hammett and the Continental Op. All the classic elements of the detective crime thriller are there: the smart-mouthed dame, nightclubs, les femmes fatale, and bodies scattered across the pages like raspberries on your morning cornflakes – A cracking good tale" Manhattan Book Review

"Cappa's perspective is similar to that presented in Max Friedman's book ‘Rethinking Anti-Americanism’. Specifically, international actors sometimes characterized as innately anti-American change their positions as America's policies change. And the same holds for the position of the U.S. with regard to Russia, China, and the broad span of Middle Eastern nations: if their policies are consistent with ours, we can work together, or at least not be at each others' throats. Loaded with action, stabs-in-the-back, heart-felt loss, tense standoffs and even a hint of mysticism. Complex, indeed" - Robert Bickel

 

"Mix of subtle allusion, rapidly paced violent set-pieces, and character reflection - I like the conversations his characters engage in about politics, capitalism, greed" – John L Murphy


"You come out of the novel knowing, like Maknazpy, that whatever the truth today, especially if it is truth as defined by the CIA, it will be different tomorrow. The action is non-stop and the sound of the jigsaw continual. This can lead to a dizzying experience for the reader. Take your time over each chapter, savor the dialog and enjoy the pieces coming together" - John J Gaynard

The new cold war is heating up - pump primed by oil and the race to control the pipelines. Cyber warriors mine the dark side of international finance. Their money trail stretches from Macau and New York to Rio de Janeiro, Cyprus, Beirut and Odessa, and the finance lines of governments and gangsters criss cross through Ukraine and Crimea. When Jorginho the Black Hat hacker goes AWOL in Portugal with the secrets of America's role in the Arab Spring rebellions, Maknazpy is enlisted to bring him back - dead or alive.
Maknazpy tracks the runaway through the narrow streets of old Lisbon until he is betrayed and the hunter becomes the hunted.
Juggling a hot money scam and cold war treachery, only his animal cunning for self preservation keeps him one step ahead of his US handlers, Chinese Military Intelligence, the Russian Mafia and a Brazilian street gang.

No one has a monopoly on moral authority in this dark world and Maknazpy is no knight-errant asserting the moral good - and that's why he may just survive.

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Gerard Cappa
I would only read Irish books when I was younger - James Stephens, Flann O'Brien, Michael McLaverty, the Blasket books. Or else politics, history, philosophy.
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