Wise guy as usual, author Savage continues the crime doings of the Scorceses (Flamingos, 1991, etc.)—New York mobsters who are a cross between Jimmy Breslin's and Anthony Bruno's thugs. Here, Misty Carmichael is a small-potatoes gambler and full- time wastrel. But after a sudden inspiration, he decides to heist a quarter of a million from the Scorceses. After all, he might never hit it big at the track, and here is a sure thing. So Misty steals the mafia's money and scurries for parts unknown in his 11- year-old rusted yellow Toyota. Blitz Focoso, whom Misty robs, going all out to recover, hires a couple of ace skiptracers, brothers Izzy and Abe Stein. Coincidentally, Izzy, unbeknownst, is Misty's mom's ex-lover. Also soon hot on the trail of the thief is syndicate capo Joe Scorcese's prodigal son, Angelo: banished to Phoenix because he tried to off his old man and take over at his Vietnamese wife's urging, Angelo wants Misty bad so as to regain his pa's good graces. (``That little spud sucker comes through here, the surgeon's gonna be a busy boy,'' says Angelo, talking in Dutch Leonardese, as do most of the characters, even the women.) En route to Hawaii, Misty picks up little cowboy-hatted-and-booted Leslie Ann Rice in Durango. Would she like to go with him? She would, of course, but the first chance she gets she calls her daddy Earl in Nevada and tells him to get on a plane to Oahu: ``I think our ship's come in.'' What transpires when all interested parties come together in ``paradise'' turns this comic crime novel into a modern-day Greek tragedy. And the juxtaposition of this incongruous resolution plus the tough-guy dialogue every character parrots is off-putting.
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