Seth Harwood. Jack Wakes Up (2008) 250 pp. [tpo]
Jack Palms is an actor whose personal demons—alcohol, drugs, a vindictive wife who falsely accused him of domestic violence—have teamed up to rob him of his career. After starring in a hit film, Shake ‘Em Down, Jack’s future seems to be set, with a deal for a sequel in the works. The next thing he knows he’s been arrested, the papers have had a field day with him, and the studios have dropped him. Now, three years later, Jack is living in Sausalito—sober, single, and in desperate need of a job—when his old friend, Ralph, calls him with a proposition. A group of Czech gangsters are coming to San Francisco to make a huge drug buy and they need a “tour guide,” someone to show them a good time around the city and facilitate their transaction. For a hefty fee, of course. Ralph convinces Jack that since his reputation as an action-movie star still opens a few doors around town he would be perfect for the part. Easy, right? Sure until Ralph is killed and everything starts going sideways. When the San Francisco cop who busted him three years ago calls and starts asking uncomfortable questions, Jack realizes he’s going to have to find the killers himself. With the help of a beautiful bartender from a strip club and a couple of ex-KGB agents, Jack sets out to track down the truth and hold up his end of the bargain with the Czechs. The streets of San Francisco will never be the same again. This novel originally appeared as a serialized podcast on the author’s website: http://sethharwood.com/jack-wakes-up
Setting: San Francisco