One-hit-wonder action star Jack Palms, on the rebound from a trashed reputation and a heroin addiction, agrees to help his old friend Ralph with a drug deal. Jack is just supposed to be window dressing, maybe show the prospective buyers a good time. The next morning, though, Jack finds Ralph brutally murdered and sets out on a personal quest for answers.
If you remember the B action flicks of the 90s as fondly as I do, you'll appreciate Jack Wakes Up. The book's third-person present narration brings a movie to mind and, along with short, punchy chapters, keeps the plot moving. Though Jack Wakes Up may be an homage to action movies, Harwood's careful characterization and overall energy made Jack and his world seem new to me. And now I'd gladly visit them again.