Eddie’s World by Charlie Stella

November 26, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

Eddie’s World by Charlie Stella. (2001) Not available in French.

“Diane thinks it’s a mid-life crisis,” Eddie said. “At least that’s what her therapist tells her. I can hardly tell anymore who’s doing the talking, whether it’s Diane or her therapist.” “Maybe it is a mid-life crisis,” Tommy said. “I admire you for having one. Guy like me, in the shape I’m in now, I can’t afford to have a mid-life crisis.”

stella_eddie_worldEddie Senta has a problem: he’s married to a successful corporate executive, Diane, whose biological clock is ticking. She wants a baby and Eddie, who already has a son from his first marriage, doesn’t want another kid. Diane keeps badgering him with motherhood and Eddie keeps resisting. On top of his problems at home, he’s questioning his professional future. Eddie leads a double professional life. By day, he works as a temp in offices to input data in IT systems. It’s a tedious job but he’s a model employee and temp agencies find him jobs regularly. By night, he breaks into office buildings to find cash and steal computers. His day-job is a smoke screen for his nightly activities and money wise the jobs complement each other. The days are dull but the nights provide the thrill he craves for.

But now, Eddie seriously thinks of quitting his work with the mob to please his wife and be a better role model for his son. The thrill of his illegal activities has also worn off. However, he wants to do a last score before explaining that he’s ready to leave this world. His friend Sarah has given him inside information about her office and the gold that her bosses keep there. She was assaulted by her boss and wants out. Eddie hesitates, his gut feeling says that this job might be dangerous. So here he is in a bar with his friend Tommy, who’s supposed to give him a hand with the job:

I’m waiting for a vote of confidence. Something to tell me to go for it.” “Like a sign from God or something?” Eddie shrugged. “Something like that.” “Because I do a mean Charlton Heston as Moses,” Tommy said. “You ever see me do that one?” He sucked in some air, furrowed his eyebrows and spoke in a deep Charlton Heston-like voice. “I am the Lord thy God. Go for it.” “Heston played Moses,” Eddie reminded him. “How about a voice in the night then? Because if that’s all you need, you got it right here. I’m not God or nothing. Let’s face it; I’m a nobody. But it is dark outside, and I do have a voice. I can sure use something right about now, if that counts for anything. I’m a guy in need of miracles. Trust me.”

Tommy is not the brightest bulb in the set and Eddie knows it. They’ve been friends since childhood and Eddie’s nothing but loyal. They both need the money and Eddie wants to help Sarah. They eventually go for it and find themselves involved in murders. Both the NYPD and FBI are investigating. Eddie’s world might collapse like a house of cards.

Eddie’s World mixes noir and mid-life crisis problems. It’s a daring move but it works, mostly because the humorous style ties the two plot strands together. We follow the murder case and wonder how things will turn out for Eddie. The crime fiction strand is well conducted and plausible. It follows the codes of noir: a man who goes for easy money and is confronted with something bigger than what he can manage. He feels that things could go wrong but a woman’s interests make him go for it anyway. The mob is involved, as is the FBI and the lines between right and wrong are blurred. Sometimes the FBI finds it convenient to forget moral rules. Sometimes the mob is more decent than expected.

And besides the crime strand, we have the mid-life crisis strand. We learn about Eddie’s qualms. Quitting his night job isn’t an easy decision to make because he doesn’t know if he’ll fit in his day work’s world.

“And maybe I can’t fit into one or the other,” Eddie said. “I can’t give up the street stuff and do what my wife wants, which is to play ball with the office world, get a steady computer job, and take the Long Island Railroad every morning. And I can’t see myself running coffee errands for wiseguys I don’t respect. What’s that, like lost in the middle someplace? Definitely lost.”

His head is full of questions. Am I ready to settle with a normal life? How can I be a better father? Is my marriage salvageable? Do I want to make this marriage work? His hesitations could cost him more than what he bargained for.

Eddie’s World is good entertainment. I read  it thanks to Guy who reviewed it and gave it to me. Thanks Guy!

  1. November 26, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    You’re welcome. I glad you liked it. Stella seems a competent crime writer.

    Like

    • November 27, 2016 at 10:31 pm

      I don’t remember, did you read another book by him?

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      • November 28, 2016 at 2:23 am

        I tried Johnny Porno but didn’t like it as much a Eddie’s World

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  2. November 27, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Great review as ever, Emma. This sounds like an entertaining read – sufficiently absorbing to keep your attention, but not too taxing if you know what I mean. (We all need books like this in our lives every now and again.) At first, I misread the character’s name as Eddie Santa….well, it’s that time of year. 🙂

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    • November 27, 2016 at 10:47 am

      It is an entertaining read. Have a look at Guy’s review if you have time. He’s much better than me at reviewing crime fiction.

      PS: re-Senta/Santa: we’re not even in December and its christmassy everywhere.

      Like

  3. November 27, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    This sounds quite fun – I like a mix of humour and noir, more necessary than ever nowadays!

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    • November 27, 2016 at 10:24 pm

      Exactly. Stella’s style is good, so it’s agreable to read.

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  4. November 27, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    The plot and the characters sounds both fun and original.

    I think that there may be some connection between the dark cynicism of noir and the psychology that revolves around a mid life crises.

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    • November 27, 2016 at 10:29 pm

      The passages about his discussions with his wife or about his discussions with his wife are funny.
      Eddie’s more complex than he appears. He tries to be a better father, he’s ready to help his friends Sarah & Tommy.
      Meanwhile the crime plot keeps you on your toes.
      It’s well done.

      Like

  5. December 3, 2016 at 11:01 am

    It does sound fun. One to keep in mind for later.

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    • December 4, 2016 at 10:22 pm

      Definitely. It’s short, a good one for a winter afternoon. It can be read in one sitting.

      Like

  1. February 18, 2017 at 8:19 pm

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