David J. Walker
Five Star, Jun 2008, $25.95
In Chicago, after losing his job for calling his boss a sexist a-hole, Charlie Long meets his cousin lawyer Eugene “Sal” Pacewlli at the Billy Goat Tavern to tell him he was fired. Frustrated with his Sir Galahad relative, Sal leaves in disgust. Soon after Sal leaves Charlie heads to the bathroom when he sees a well dressed black guy pulling a mixed race looking little kid when two white thugs fire and kill the adult. Without warning Charlie grabs the little kid and takes off.
The profession al hitmen pursue Charlie and the kid who ducks into a porn shop before entering a fortune teller store owned by elderly Zorina. She keeps the man and child safe while insisting Charlie must keep the kid, who does not talk, out of harm’s way; he says no.
At the same time heiress Maria “Mary” McGrady has come home after working at Porto de Dues Orphanage in Rio. She searches for a boy Paulo who was abducted from her in Rio. As the local police, FBI, Russian hitmen and Paulo’s uncle seek the child, Charlie hides the lad with the help of Zorina and eventually Mary.
Although there is a touch of the extrasensory via Zorina’s skills and her insistence that this is Charlie’s destiny, SAVING PAULO is an entertaining thriller in which a Good Samaritan is unable to prevent himself from interfering. The story line is fast-paced from the onset, but loses some of its steam once the Feds takes the lead players to South America as the truth of uncle affection becomes known to Charlie and Mary and a child is a sacrificial pawn to the agents. Fans will enjoy this fine tale of a man who in spite his misgivings feels a need to protect a helpless preadolescent stranger.