The Wise Ass

Fiction - Adventure
241 Pages
Reviewed on 12/20/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Tom McCaffrey is a born-and-bred New Yorker who, after a long career working as a successful entertainment attorney in Manhattan, relocated with his wife to a small town in Northern Colorado to follow a road less travelled and return to his first passion, writing. Despite the local rumors started by Claire the mule, he denies being in the Witness Protection Program.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Animal lovers should rejoice for The Wise Ass seems to be the perfect embodiment of animals altering a person's life with their love and positivity. Jimmy McCarthy is an Irish American from the Bronx who works for the mob boss Ty Valanchi and his crew. After decades of working for the mafia, Jimmy, Valanchi, and his associates get arrested on a RICO case by the FBI. Jimmy decides to enter into the witness protection program and bring down the entire organization when he gets news of his brother's murder on the orders of Ty Valanchi. The FBI relocates Jimmy and his wife Gina to Berthoud, Colorado, where Jimmy's life takes a drastic turn when he comes in contact with a talking mule named Claire.

The Wise Ass is a riveting story that perfectly encapsulates how a change in one's environment can significantly impact a person's outlook on life. Author Tom McCaffrey's novel is well-written, smart, funny, and above else, heartwarming. Every single one of Tom McCaffrey's characters is fully fleshed out with layers of depth to them. The conversations between Jimmy, Claire, and Gina were some of my favorite portions of the book. I found Claire's backstory to be very compelling and was particularly impressed with Jimmy's gradual change as a person as he spends more time with Claire. There are also bouts of humor sprinkled throughout the book that make for an entertaining reading experience. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Wise Ass, and I would highly recommend it.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Have you ever wondered what it would be like living on the run? A life hiding from those who seek to kill you? Jimmy McCarthy, later known as Jimmy Morans, was a lawyer for a big firm. Not getting anywhere very fast, he was frustrated. Not surprising, when opportunity knocked in the form of a high-income position, Jimmy made the plunge and ended up as a mafia lawyer. He moved up in the world, but, when the Feds arrested him (along with the rest of his mafia bosses), Jimmy chose to trade information for freedom in the Witness Protection Program, which included a new name for him and his wife, a new home in rural northern Colorado and a totally new life. The couple adjusted well, except for animals, particularly a talking mule, and some mystical humans from another planet. If things couldn’t get weirder, the mafia was set loose and they were headed for Colorado, more specifically to take care of Jimmy.

Tom McCaffrey’s novel, The Wise Ass, takes the meaning of a wise ass to a whole new level. Not only is the title referring to the talking mule, who was also very wise, but also to the wise ass lawyer, Jimmy, who got himself into a mafia-mixed mess. The story is told in the first-person narrative and, after enduring the lengthy ‘who am I’ dialogue, which even the narrator admitted was dull and not as brief as he intended it to be (but then lawyers never are brief), the plot intensifies with adventure and heightened tension which converts to a sense of humor and disbelief as the next chapter in the protagonist’s life (aka Jimmy), turns totally bizarre.

As things heat up and the mafia gets closer, set on revenge, the first-person narrative takes on a whole new twist as each chapter is told from a different person’s point of view (who is talking is clearly identified in the chapter title). This adds a wide range of perspectives as the battle with the mafia, though unsettling for Jimmy and his wife, develops into a fun-filled adventure for the others, which includes the mystical humans and the talking mule. Adventure, action, crime; this book fits into multiple genres and will appeal to a wide range of reading preferences. Packed with unusual characters and the unbelievable mixed with believable, this is a fun read.

Lesley Jones

In The Wise Ass by Tom McCaffrey, since his childhood of growing up in New York, Jimmy shared an appreciation and love of animals. Over the next twenty years, Jimmy met and married Gina and landed a job with a Wall Street law firm. A chance meeting submerges Jimmy into the dark violent world of the mafia, working for Ty Valachi. Events cause Jimmy to turn state's evidence and as Valachi and his crew are arrested, Jimmy is placed into the witness protection program and begins his new life in Colorado. He finds the transition from New York to this small rural town quite difficult and begins to experience strange occurrences and visions. Jimmy realizes that the people and animals in the town are not all that they seem. He begins a life-changing transformation where he has to face his demons and the choices he has made in his life. With the news of his enemies' release on bail, Jimmy and his new friends, including Claire the opinionated mule, his strange neighbors, and a psychic, prepare for the ultimate showdown.

The unique concept of The Wise Ass by Tom McCaffrey will take you on a rollercoaster of epiphanies and emotions. The characters are larger than life and extremely realistic. I loved the relationship between Jimmy and Claire; their interactions were really heartwarming. Claire's life story and her insights into humanity's treatment of animals brought tears to my eyes. I loved the scenes where Jimmy was trying to transition from city to rural life; there were some really comical moments from him. The plot has some great twists and turns where nothing is as it first seems. There are also some thought-provoking lessons entwined throughout, such as every choice you make has consequences and not to fear what you cannot control - just focus on the things you do have control over. I also enjoyed the comparison to scientific advancements and humans' natural telepathic ability and intuition. You are asked to explore the possibilities that there is much more than your perceived reality. The final scenes were explosive and nail-biting. I thought the way the ending was viewed from the different perspectives of the main characters was brilliant. A fantastic read.

Jim Fronsdahl

There was something about the eyes of the noble animal on this book’s cover that instantly engaged me, inviting me into her story. After reading the jacket description, I was hooked. Pull up a chair, because from the very beginning of the novel, the author, Tom McCaffrey, draws the reader into the world of the protagonist, Jimmy McCarthy, so effectively that you feel like you are one of the characters. Jimmy McCarthy is a New York City mob lawyer who is forced into hiding after testifying against his former mafia boss. Now Jimmy Moran, he and his wife, Gina, are relocated by the federal government to Northern Colorado, where he is reluctantly introduced to a mystical new world by a loquacious mule named Claire, who through her innate wisdom, teaches Jimmy what it really means to be human. The author transforms this work of fiction into a world of the possible, through cleverly weaving in titanium filaments of enough reality to make the story plausible. The author’s inclusion of classical literary references and thought-provoking contemporary themes makes this novel not just extremely relevant and entertaining, but educational as well. This novel has it all; humor, family, friendship, love, danger, suspense, the natural and supernatural, and heart stopping action. This powerful story will keep you on the edge of your seat and capture your heart, all the way to the explosive and unexpected ending. This novel will have readers clamoring for a sequel. I know I cannot wait for the next one!

Pat Francis n

Making an absolutely terrific debut, Tom McCaffrey has written a story that is funny, believable and heartwarming. When die hard New Yorkers, Jimmy and Gina, wind up in the witness protection program and transported to no where land, Colorado, their crazy life becomes a whole lot crazier. The cast of characters they will come to know including Lenny, the federal marshal making sure they stay alive, Bobbi and Helen, definitely more than restaurant owners and a pair of quirky neighbors, who are absolutely not what they seem to be, will keep you entertained throughout. Oh, and of course, Claire, the mule who has become my favorite animal in a book. The real wise ass (pun intended) of the book. They all have a story to tell and Mccaffrey does a top notch job of making sure it one has a distinct voice. His writing shows compassion for all. When the bad guys come a calling, Jimmy and Gina will need all their new found friends and you will be rooting for them all way. Mccaffrey has written characters that are real and human. In Claire, he has given voice to a unique new character, who you will never forget. A throughly enjoyable first novel with terrific characters, a great story and a satisfying conclusion. I look forward to the journey continuing. You will not be disappointed.

Tina Piras

Wow what a beautiful book I read,  Tom McCaffrey written a lovely story, with so much humor and love. The characters were amazing, not to mention the main character Claire the mule. he deserves 5 stars in addition to the 5 stars to the writer.
I have enjoyed the book immensely and can’t wait for the next book.


This was a great book to read. Very discriptive to allow Your mind to picture each situation. It also offers a great combination of humor without sacrificing the dangerous situation. The book also stimulates a lot of thoughts related to the human race... hope for a second book!


This is a book you cannot put down. Enjoyed the story and was always wondering was coming next. Hopefully he writes a sequel to this story as I have grown fond of several of the characters.


I love this book ! Once it got going I was hooked .
Humorous and fantastical , I was taken for a pleasant ride .
Can't wait to read the next book in the trilogy . Headed to my library today ! I'll just go ahead and pick up the next two !

Sunny O'Flynn

I enjoyed the book immensely , therefore making this book, my pick for August Book Club discussion. Also, it is somewhat of a trip down memory lane.

The Wise Ass

Loved this book