Breezy, laugh-out-loud school-of-Westlake caper with plenty of nasty, nihilistic twists, the best yet from screenwriter and...

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GYPSY HEARTS

Breezy, laugh-out-loud school-of-Westlake caper with plenty of nasty, nihilistic twists, the best yet from screenwriter and crime novelist Eversz (Shooting Elvis, 1996, etc.). Part-time American scam artist and full-time cad Richard Milhous ""Nix"" Miller haunts the dreary streets of post-Communist Prague, adding mileage to his monthly inheritance checks by preying on female tourists who just want to have fun. Posing as a ""seven-figure"" Hollywood screenwriter researching the next Tom Cruise/Julia Roberts vehicle, Nix talks the talk long enough to pilfer his victims' pocketbooks. He then grandly rescues his distressed damsels, spending their money on rousing nights on the town that end in his apartment bedroom. Things go from bad--when he bilks the fiancâe of a local police detective--to worse, as he falls for a similar scam worked by Monika, a sultry young woman who manages to clean him out without wrinkling his bedsheets. Hopelessly in love, Nix apes Woody Allen aping Bogart in Play It Again Sam as he tries to beat Monika at their mutual game. Things get ugly (as they must) when Nix murders Monika's loathsome pimp, Sven, and then tries to pretend that he's sufficiently ruthless, like the American movie heroes of his fantasies, to shrug off the consequences. Instead of a grudging admiration leading to love, Nix and his femme fatale find themselves in a scrambling contest for power and control. Delightfully dismal glimpses of pathetic tourists and gleefully corrupt Balkan landscapes don't lighten the dead-end grimness of a nihilistic, 1990s-style Innocents Abroad. Smart-alecky, frequently hilarious storytelling, with brainy send-ups of vampiric Europeans and idiotic Americans on the dark side of the post-Cold War Grand Tour.

Pub Date: May 1, 1997

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Grove

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1997