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Monkey Wrench


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The author won the John Creasey Prize for Crime Fiction for her novel "Dupe" and the 1992 Crime Writers' Association Silver Dagger Award for "Bucket Nut".


Rough-and-tumble wrestler Eva Wylie, introduced in Bucket Nut (Doubleday, 1993), struts her attitudinal stuff around the tougher side of London. Having risen above her own humble beginnings and homelessness, Eva now divides her time between the gym and her night job, exhibiting an abrasive self-respect. Provoked by the murder of several of their number, a group of streetwalkers asks her for self-defense training, but she refuses until friend Crystal "changes" her mind. Eva's cockiness, coupled with a tough compassion and susceptibility to manipulation, generates an invigorating narrative that should please Cody's many fans.

Like Miss Marple and Lord Peter Wimsey, Eva Wylie, introduced in Bucket Nut, is a character of such convincing reality, it's hard to believe she doesn't exist somewhere. She also, like them, inhabits a fully believable world, but hers revolves around a gym‘she's a villainous female wrestler‘and two vicious watch dogs in the toughest part of London. Nicknamed the London Lassassin, the deeply moral Eva finds her personal code put to the test when the diminutive, monkey-faced Crystal, the closest thing to a friend Eva will allow herself, asks for help in finding and punishing her prostitute sister's killer. Eva reluctantly agrees‘and ends up paying a high personal price. What propels this unconventional mystery (in which Cody's other series heroine, Anna Lee, briefly appears) is less the need to discover whodunit than the power of Eva's voice as she tells her story: menacing, barely in control of her rage, but also vulnerable, funny and on the side of the angels. The pace is breathless and jittery, much like the London Lassassin herself, who is a singular treasure. (May)

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