eXXXJust out of the big house, Rick is a good natured ex-crim with a plan to franchise a chain of cafés based on a prison theme. To finance his dream, he borrows from a low-life drug dealer and full-time paranoid, Guthrie. But moments before he is due to pay off his debt to Guthrie, his estranged wife cleans out his bank account.

Rick finds himself running from bad trouble into worse. In the richest square mile of dirt in the world, a state-of-the-art cappucino machine is about to determine the fate of six triple-crossing desperates. Dave’s novel is Elmore Leonard on no-doze – a foot-to-the-floor twisting tale of cheapskates chasing high stakes, lust and dust, in action so rapid it makes jai alai look like snow melting.

This review appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald ‘s SPECTRUM section on January 22, 2000

At last, a touch of Carl Hiaasen’s crazy brilliance in Australia, from former ”Suburban Boy” Warner. Reformed crim Rick Boski plans to serve coffee instead of time, but to open a cafe featuring the sublime Milano espresso machine (eight cups at once, plus playing Arrivederci Roma) he needs funds.

He turns to a loan shark, drug lord and general sleaze, Guthrie, but the deal soon turns sour with complications including a former wife, several witless thugs, two mobile phones and a plastic bag of cash. On the road to Kalgoorlie, Rick and a bunch of hapless characters ride out a ridiculously convoluted plot that finally gives new meaning to death by espresso.

Wild, mad, thoroughly improbable, and I couldn’t put it down – hopefully it’ll also become a film, as was originally intended. Musos turned novelists should normally be regarded with caution, but Warner sparks with energy. Maybe it’s the caffeine.
–Debra Adelaide

First published in 2000 by Pan Macmillan Australia