BUY BACK  A Crime Novel

"BUY BACK is  Brian Wiprud's best and biggest novel yet - his breakout book."
T. Jefferson Parker

Tom Davin is a Brooklyn insurance investigator in a jam. His girlfriend split and stuck him with four cats and a debt to a ruthless loan shark. He arranges an art theft to cover the debt - only somebody swipes the paintings from his crew. Now the insurance company wants him to investigate his own art theft. Now the local bookie is making threats. Now his crew in the neighborhood is targeted by a sniper. Now both the mob and the cops think he’s the shooter. Six-foot-six Tommy nimbly navigates his troubles and Brooklyn with the help of tantric yoga, his father’s aphorisms and a comely masseuse. But the question remains: do good things happen to good people? The answer lurks in a fiery Brooklyn scrap yard.



Set in the New York City art world, this well-paced caper novel from Wiprud (Feelers) will likely appeal to Elmore Leonard fans. Brooklynite Tom Davin works in the morally ambiguous field of what he terms “corporate recovery,” returning stolen paintings, documents, and collectibles to their owners via their insurance companies for a finder's fee without getting the law involved. Tom locates those who took the valuables, then negotiates a price with the insurers. When Tom crosses the line into criminality by arranging for the theft of three paintings from Brooklyn's Whitbread Museum in order to sell them back to the insurance company, the scheme goes awry—his thieves lose the paintings to some other crooks. As Tom tries to figure out who ripped off his crew, he narrowly avoids getting killed several times. The baffling abduction of four cats that Tom's ex-girlfriend abandoned raises the stakes. Readers will want to see more of the captivating Tom Davin.

Publishers Weekly

4.5 Stars  Readers are in for a wild ride from the first page of Wiprud’s latest novel, which feels equal parts classic noir and modern crime novel, with wise-cracking, fedora-wearing characters and a modern industrial setting. The story has a unique premise, and Wiprud has a great talent for layering just enough complexity onto a central mystery, building suspense to the point where readers might turn the page with one hand while shielding their eyes with another, and for connecting all the dots with Christie-like panache.
— Romantic Times Book Reviews

Tommy Davin recovers stolen art for insurance companies, but his ill-advised love for a Las Vegas chorus girl has left him owing a dangerous Brooklyn loan shark more money than he can repay. So he commissions an art theft that goes wrong, and the insurer hires him to recover the missing paintings. Soon, the people he approaches in his investigation are being killed by a sniper, and Tommy may be next—if the loan shark doesn’t get him first. Like Wiprud’s excellent Feelers (2009), the setting is Brooklyn. Countless writers have used the borough as a locale, but few invest it with the kind of flaky denizens Wiprud creates. Tommy is a giant who worries about his karma, uses tantric yoga exercises to manage stress, and fancies Latin bands led by Xavier Cugat and Perez Prado. His barber is an ancient Italian who reminisces about slitting customers’ throats for the Black Hand. His masseuse, Delilah, dispenses common-sense psychotherapy and preaches the “power of possibility.” His assailant is a lovelorn Russian assassin. Buy Back is a strange, entertaining, comic brew.
— Thomas Gaughan, BOOKLIST

Starred Review  Art theft, catnapping and other seriously negative energy on the mean streets of Brooklyn. Tommy Davin is in corporate recovery. Insurance companies hire him to recover stolen property, usually by giving the people who stole it a fraction of its value so that the insurers can return it to its rightful owners instead of paying out a claim. You may think Tommy’s just one step removed from a fence, but the system normally leaves everybody happy. Sometimes, though, it needs tweaking. When Tommy’s live-in showgirl Yvette takes off for Vegas, leaving him with four cats and a mountain of debt to Vince Scanlon, he hires three buddies to steal some paintings he can turn around and recover for the Whitbread Museum. All of which would still be fine if the paintings weren’t hijacked before the thieves made it across the street. Now Tommy’s got the cops on his case, Vinny breathing down his neck and Gustav, a Russian in love with Yvette, breaking down his door, snatching the cats and leaving notes professing his eternal devotion to Yvette and his hostility toward Tommy. Worse, everybody Tommy talks to about the hijacking seems to get shot in the middle of the conversation because, as Tommy says about one hapless victim, “his chi was compromised.”  Wiprud (Feelers, 2009, etc.) whips up an unbeatable mix of violence, double-crossing, tantric-breathing exercises and deadpan aphorisms: “The truth is like a cat. If you want it to sit on your lap, you just have to stay long enough in the same room.”
— Kirkus Reviews

Wiprud, the author of the acclaimed Feelers and a series about taxidermist Garth Carson (Pipsqueak, Stuffed ), has created another memorable protagonist in one of the most exciting crime fiction novels this year. Let's hope we see more of Tommy Davin.
— Library Journal

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