Mink Eyes

Mink Eyes
2023 Best Book Awards Finalist: Legacy Fiction

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October 1986–the tarnished heart of the “Greed Is Good” Decade. Private detective Peter O’Keefe, physically scarred and emotionally battered Viet Nam vet, is hired by his childhood best friend, ace attorney Mike Harrigan, to investigate what appears on the surface to be merely a rinky-dink mink farm Ponzi scam. But, instead, O’Keefe finds himself snared in a vicious web—of money laundering, cocaine smuggling, and murder—woven by the mysterious mobster known as “Mr. Canada”. Also caught in Mr. Canada’s web is the exquisite Tag Parker, who might be the girl of O’Keefe’s dreams—or his nightmares. This is serious fiction wrapped in the cloak of a hard hitting, exciting detective novel—a story that has it all—terror, murder, addiction, sex, obsession, crime, and doom, yes—but also friendship, fatherhood, integrity, duty, self-sacrifice, and love. Dan Flanigan is a veteran practicing lawyer who gives us an insider’s real-world view of the formal and informal workings of our legal system and the schemes and scams germinating in the seamy underbelly of our business world.

Dan Flanigan asks, “Where does O’Keefe go from here?”

A.D. 2020

How did we get here? Dan Flanigan intends to tell us the story of our modern times through a series of novels, chronologically arranged, recounting, from the 1980s to the present day, the life and adventures of his private detective hero Peter O’Keefe and the assorted characters in the O’Keefe orbit:

His childhood buddy, ace lawyer Mike Harrigan;

His private-eye team— and the smart, sexy, and sassy Sara Slade; and another childhood pal, snarky but rock solid and always dependable George Novak;

His daughter Kelly and ex-wife Annie;

Assorted organized crime characters including Rose Jagoda, the accidental and reluctant heiress to her father’s outlaw enterprises;

And a number of other interesting characters that have managed to stay alive through Flanigan’s first two novels in the series.

Flanigan is well-suited to the task, having enjoyed a long career as a finance, banking, and bankruptcy lawyer, which has furnished him a front row seat to witness the scams, schemes, and scandals of the last four decades of American life. 

While each novel will be a stand-alone story, with a beginning, middle, and end sufficient unto itself, the series will give its readers the pleasure of a long sweep of character development, plots, and subplots as they ride through recent American history. “The characters won’t be frozen in their personalities,” Flanigan says, “but will lead real lives, with growth, change, successes and setbacks, triumphs and tragedies.”

And, as Flanigan has shown in the just-released (October 2020) second novel in the series, The Big Tilt, new characters will be introduced and mix satisfyingly with the previous ones (at least the ones that have managed to survive the mayhem and stay alive).

“And it will be real,” Flanigan says. “I mean really real, not the outlandish nonsense plots that we have to endure so often, but things that really happened or at least could really have happened to actual, struggling, suffering souls, some of them at least trying to do the right thing, though often failing, making tragic mistakes that will require a reckoning. It’s noir but more gray than black.”

His first Peter O’Keefe novel, Mink Eyes, set in 1986, the tarnished heart of the “Greed Is Good” decade, features a mink farm Ponzi scheme bilking gullible evangelicals, which is infiltrated by a powerful organized crime family. The book explores many of the themes that first emerged in that era and have helped propel us to where we are today and how we live now.

His new novel, The Big Tilt, published in October 2020, is set one year after Mink Eyes, 1987, with the U.S. in the midst of the S&L (Savings & Loan) crisis, which is threatening the financial underpinnings of the national economy. Meanwhile, in his private life O’Keefe is gulping water trying to keep his head above the waves—doing his best to recover from the tragic events recounted in Mink Eyes; establish his fledgling, precarious private detective business on solid ground; rescue his pal Harrigan from a local prosecutor’s vengeful campaign to put him in jail; save an old love from the consequences of a fateful choice she made long ago; and, through it all, stay alive despite the best efforts of local criminals and corrupt businessmen and politicians to exterminate him with no squeamishness about whatever “collateral damage” (including to his daughter and his friends) they might inflict in the process.

One can see in The Big Tilt where O’Keefe’s future might be heading through some of the newly introduced characters that manage to survive the novel’s mayhem and, even more so, in the “business plan” that O’Keefe lays out in a meeting with Sara and George—a plan that, if successful (and, with O’Keefe, that “if” is always a big one, about everything in his life, including his life itself) will hugely expand their world and, with that expansion, more diverse and interesting stories as they sail, drift, lurch, and stumble into the future.

One of the surely interesting things to watch as the series develops is the onward march of technology and its impact on O’Keefe’s business and the characters’ lives.  As we begin the series, O’Keefe’s “mobile” phone is a big, unwieldy “brick” of a “car phone.” Personal computers are making headway, but such things as email, pagers, and other electronics are non-existent or rudimentary, and there is no internet.  But O’Keefe is seeing the future and trying to prepare for it. He vaguely perceives in the current fog a new world of “databases,” and his business plan includes the hiring of both computer and accounting “nerds.”

But the O’Keefe crew surely won’t get lost in the ether.  George is assigned to develop a security, bodyguard, and executive protection business. Surely that will, all by itself, become a fertile breeding ground for intrigue, secrets, lies, stabs in the back (and front), mishaps, murder, and mayhem.

And romance too. All those strong, sexy women—Tag Parker, Sara Slade, Annie O’Keefe, Mary Harrigan, and, not one but two new ones, Rosa Jagoda and Maura David, introduced in the Big Tilt.

Through it all O’Keefe strives to be a good father to a daughter on the verge of adolescence, a bumpy ride all by itself.

All of this promises much adventure and excitement for Flanigan’s characters . . . and his readers. He says he’s working on # 3 now. Or, more accurately, as he says, “My characters are working on it. It’s their show. I just follow them around.”


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