Plugged by Eoin Colfer

When I was a Middle School literature teacher I petitioned my Principal to change up the normal reading schedule, ditching Red Badge of Courage and bringing in a new series I found at the Scholastic warehouse: Artemis Fowl. My kids and I were in love from page one so I’ve been a fan of Eoin Colfer for years. This book is not Artemis Fowl. This book is piss, vinegar and vulgarity wrapped in laugh out loud funny.

Plugged
By Eoin Colfer
Read by John Keating
Overlook Hardcover & AudioGO
September 2011

Daniel McEvoy is a doorman at a zero star nightclub, Slotz, in New Jersey. Born in Ireland raised in the Army fighting in Lebanon, he is one tough bouncer. When his wanna-be girl Connie is found in the ally behind the club shot dead between the eyes, Daniel gets busy looking for the killer. Coincidentally, (or not,) Daniel earlier in the day had to kill a local mobster’s heavy at his doctor’s office on the way to getting more hair implants. Yes, “Plugged” refers to Daniel’s hair implants. It’s that kind of book.

Daniel struggles to find Connie’s killer, avoid the local mobster’s ire, and save the lives of those around him who couldn’t care less for him. His Doctor, Zeb, starts haunting Daniel’s thoughts in seemingly unhelpful ways. A detective tries to kill her partner and ends up shot herself. A local criminal lawyer needs his “product” picked up from local steroid dealers. All Daniel needs to do is find a way to live, save the lives of all those who can’t help themselves, find Zeb (alive, if possible,) and avoid jail. No big deal.

While you may read the quote on the cover – If you loved Artemis Fowl…It’s time to grow up! – you may be tempted not to take it seriously. You should. Because this book is way, way different!

Sure, Colfer’s humor and sarcasm is a huge part of this book, but what was unexpected was the vulgar language and topics. This isn’t noir so much as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels on crack and required to curse at least twice a sentence. Consider how Daniel is introduced: he and his fellow bouncer are spending time determining if females they can see have implants, then Daniel is taken to an altercation that happens between previously mentioned criminal lawyer who has just licked the bottom of one of the hostesses at Slotz. It only get’s more raunchy from there.

There aren’t any graphic descriptions of sexuality or murder, as the goal of this book seems to be raunchy comedy instead of shock violence. F-bombs and more drop like frogs from the sky at an Egyptian apocalypse – ominous and unwelcome. And funny this book is! Very funny! I can’t remember the last time I laughed out loud so often. Unfortunately, I also can’t remember the last time I cringed so often reading a book either.

Colfer’s first “adult” book seems to be compensating for his “teen” and “children’s” novels and what he doesn’t realize is that he doesn’t need to. His children’s books are genius and he doesn’t have to prove anything. If Colfer intends to write books like this one going forward, then I’ll remember his previous books fondly and avoid his future work.

A note about the audio book: John Keating did a great job with accents and voice acting. It is so rare to get a good Irish accent, but this one was right on. Characters are well developed vocally. The audio book was actually more entertaining than reading the text!


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he cartoons and writes on Christianity, Zombies, and anything else he wants to.