What do a rolling-stone burglar, a perky realtor, a horny dentist, his hot-pants assistant, and a Philadelphia street thief...

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What do a rolling-stone burglar, a perky realtor, a horny dentist, his hot-pants assistant, and a Philadelphia street thief all have in common? They're all out to kill each other, that's what--in Watts's third plunge into Jim Thompson waters (The Money Lovers, 1994, etc.). In the beginning, there was philandering Dr. Jerry Medsoe--of the wealthy, dying physician father and the eccentric mother, a retired history teacher who keeps interjecting the Bill of Rights into every conversation--and his Century 21 wife Pam, the neighborhood professional who'd love to see him dead so she can hurry up and inherit Pa Medsoe's money. When Pam meets Randall Davies, a glib burglar, at an upscale openhouse and then runs into him again (same location, midnight), she thinks she's found the tool to pry the Medsoe coffers open. Meantime, though, Jerry's dumb-as-dirt Puerto Rican receptionist Carmela (who's neither dumb nor Puerto Rican--and that's only the beginning of the casual deceits these characters ply) has yanked her ""brother"" Jesus Monteon and his Saturday night special off the Center City streets and into Jerry's office. She tries to con Jerry into selling his practice to her to (supposedly) protect it from Pam in the upcoming divorce. Jesus, who's graduated from routine muggings to homicide since a face-off with Randall (another nocturnal burglary at the dentist's office, natch), is dreaming of what he's going to do to Randall, and Jerry, and whoever else comes between him and his snowy dreams of chemical bliss. Karen, the private-duty nurse Randall's sweet on, and Mama Medsoe, who's nowhere near as senile as she claims, both develop plans of their own. Then--it's the perfectly judged spark that sets the whole barn ablaze--Pa Medsoe up and dies. To Be Continued. A heartlessly funny series of riffs on the blinding effects of greed and lust, as demonstrated by a memorable cast of half-wit sharpies.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1996

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Soho

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1996