Mad Dog Justice: Mark Rubinstein
Roddy Dolan and Danny Burns were best friends until they weren’t. What happens to cause more than just a rift between these two men reverts back to a deal they made with a loan shark and a friend that was out to scam them both? Roddy is a well renowned surgeon and Danny an accountant. Their friendship goes back to when they were teens. Danny was smart, never really accepted by the tough or cool kids and Roddy with his Mad Dog attitude would step in and handle anything that might come Danny’s way. Roddy and Danny developed a friendship that bound them and fostered loyalty, trust and faithfulness until it did not. Roddy and Danny were blindsided or shall I say Roddy was because his friend decided to get into bed with a loan shark and an old friend who was linked to the mob. From the author of Mad Dog House comes the next chapter in the lives of Roddy and Danny as they reflect on what they did in the past, their childhood memories and their friendship know tangles on a short string or as delicate as a piece of blown glass as the haunting past of one incident comes back and smacks them in the face. Kenny Egan reentered their lives and convinced Danny to want to invest in a restaurant named McLaughlin’s. Eager to make some money and wanting Roddy to be in on the partnership, Danny does a certain amount of due diligence in order to make sure that the deal is legitimate and that the funds that Kenny will invest in this restaurant come from a sound and reliable source. But, sometimes people want to believe a truth even if it’s a lie and they don’t see things clearly and become embroiled in something that is so tangled, convoluted and distorted that the end result is terrifying.
As the deal goes through and the two partner with Kenny a third man enters who is attached to the Russian mob. When funds are allocated and the business seems to soar no one sees what is really happening behind the scenes. Lies, betrayals, disloyalty and fear rise to the top as Kenny admits where the money came from and the end result will tear Roddy and Danny’s friendship and lives apart. When the truth comes out and a man named Grange threatens the two men and wants his money at all costs and they realize he will bleed them more then dry what they do will bring back Roddy’s days as a Mad Dog and remind readers that he was a difficult teen who wound up in the army instead of jail and got lucky. But, will he be able to hide what he and Danny did to both Kenny and Grange as the story begins and the past comes full circle and hits them in the face in the present.
Someone is on to what they did and someone wants to take them both out. Danny is critically wounded and winds up in the hospital and as Roddy enters the parking garage of his hospital someone is waiting to take him out too. But, a case of mistaken identity and being in the wrong parking spot at the wrong time, leads to the death of another doctor and close friend. As the two friends devise a plan to figure out who might be behind what is happening a police detective named Morgan investigating the death and the shooting seems sure that both Roddy and Danny are hiding the truth and he will do anything it takes to uncover what they claim they do not know.
Each time they are questioned the tension rises, their bodies seem to react and Danny’s breathing is hampered. Roddy comes up with different excuses and decides that Danny betrayed him and knew about Kenny’s link to Grange and the mob and is determined to save his own hide and protect his family. But, things get out of hand and threats are made as both men realize their family’s are in danger and they need to be somewhere safe. As Angela, Danny’s wife seems to know just so much and is unhappy but not totally aware of her husband’s deceptions, Tracy, Roddy’s wife learns more than must the harsh truth about the restaurant, his involvement, the disappearance of Kenny Egan and then from another source about the man that came to his house and scared his daughter, Sandy. As one wife seems to be trying to adjust another wants nothing to do with her husband.
Roaming through Brooklyn, riding the trains we see Roddy taking a downward path and running from himself, his life and trying to find his place in the world as the author relates his relationship with his mother’s boyfriend Horst, the tortures he endured and how he finally took care of business and got rid of this man. Remembering what he learned in the army from Sergeant Dawson the author relates the lessons and how Roddy would use what he learned to survive in the present. But, ultimatums are not something that Roddy takes lightly and when things spiral out of control Danny states his point and gives him one week to find a solution to their problems before it goes to the police and confesses.
Each character deals with the present in different ways. Danny eats himself into oblivion causing his asthma to flare up at times, his skin felt like milk that curled and his entire body seemed to be heading on a downward slope. As Dan’s genes the author shares might be gearing up for a massive heart attack, Roddy recounts how his father wound up in jail and he might follow suit. With his mother’s boyfriend taking it on him and his life going sliding downward, Roddy’s marriage is the next casualty when Tracy learns the hidden truth or what he claims is the hidden truth behind what happened to Kenny Egan and the restaurant deal. Both characters searching for acceptance and hoping that they would rise above what they think they have become. Danny the pudgy faced young boy and Roddy the tough guy from Brooklyn. But, things get more tense as both men start to piece things together and another life is sacrificed but who and why? Friendships, trust, loyalties and families are tested to the limit as one friend pits himself against another and the fear of being betrayed is just one phone call away.
When Danny threatens to tell it all to the police and come clean with Morgan will Roddy stand by and allow it to happen? Thinking it through both men come up with several common denominators and when they reduce the fraction the one common denominator is revealed and just how they will take this fractional part down you just won’t believe. Fear, and the need for retribution rise to the top and the anger that festered inside Roddy brings out Mad Dog once more.
When one man is confronted you won’t believe what the end result will be as both Danny and Roddy take one more step closer to what might be his own brand of Mad Dog Justice. Will they survive? Will Tracy ever forgive Roddy? What will happen if she and Angela ever learn the stark truth behind what really happened to Grange and Kenny? Whose life will be sacrificed in order to save theirs once more? An ending that will pose many questions and leave some unanswered as once again author Mark Rubenstein takes us deep inside the minds of two men so different yet so alike whose final fate is still in the hands of one man: THE AUTHOR! MAD DOG JUSTICE: You won’t believe what happens as once again we wait with bated breath for the dramatic conclusion.
Fran Lewis: reviewer