DEVILS HOLE by Bill Branon


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 Virtue, vice, and things naughty and nice clutch and pair in Branon's latest bang-or-be-banged thriller, as Las Vegas becomes a stalking ground where gamblers, gunners, and their girls frolic before getting down to some lethal business. Branon (Let Us Prey, 1994) borrows heavily from the same fund of casino and rifle lore that worked for him before. Spunky Melody barely survives in Vegas as a blackjack dealer and minion in a football book joint. Arthur, a nice but nerveless hired gun, makes the most of covert-ops tricks learned in Vietnam, while longtime partner Montana swings the deals and sets up targets. Manly Mike is their next victim, scheduled to be terminated by the casinos for manipulating point spreads in football so that he rakes in millions on a single game. Mike comes into Melody's joint, they lock eyes, and chapters-long sex follows. Meanwhile, Melody's best friend, Karla, has connected with Montana, and plot lines converge in a weird double date, with Melody dragged in as Arthur's partner. Soon Arthur moves in with Melody, needing to lie low after losing control of his temper one night and killing two muggers with his bare hands, one of whom turned out to be a senator's son (who says truth is stranger than fiction?). Arthur teaches Melody to shoot because she wants to impress Mike, also a shooter, on their next date. But Melody comes to care for Arthur too; when the desert showdown begins, she finds herself with a rifle in her hands and chaos in her heart. Action-packed with all the sex and shooting--which is good, since the characters and situations can't bear much scrutiny--but the torrent of technical and torrid detail all but washes away Branon's thin, far-fetched plot. (Book-of-the-Month alternate selection; $75,000ad/promo)

Pub Date: May 10th, 1995
ISBN: 0-06-017760-8
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1995