THE SHARK-INFESTED CUSTARD by Charles Willeford

THE SHARK-INFESTED CUSTARD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Another trip to the Willeford vaults has unearthed this mid- 1970's romp on the wild side with four Miami bachelors--whose episodic plans for routine fun keep turning into deadpan felonies, inadvertent or otherwise. The senior tenants in singles-only Dade Towers--two of them have been there over two years--are tight as friends can be; and when pharmaceutical detail man Hank Norton, responding to a bet that he can't pick up a date in two hours at a drive-in, reels in a spaced-out 13-year-old who dies moments later of a drug overdose (``The girl- -Hildy--whimpered like a puppy, coughed, choked slightly, and fell over sideways in the seat....`She's dead,' Hank said''), they naturally band together to find the supplier responsible for her death--an adventure that takes another brisk turn before it's over. Several months later, when Mr. Wright, irate husband of Hank's current heartthrob Jannaire, tells Hank he's going to kill him and demonstrates through a series of near-misses just how easy it would be, Hank decides he's got to kill Mr. Wright first. This episode ends with Hank and fellow-bachelor Larry Dolman, a can-do security man, bound for wintry Chicago, where they're eventually joined by the remaining members of the quartet: Eddie Miller, a pilot on the run from his exigent live-in Gladys Wilson, and Don Lucchesi, a silverware salesman whose plan to snatch his spoiled daughter Marie out from under his hateful wife's nose has, well, gone awry. A birthday party for Don's first day in the brand-new identity that Larry's constructed for him provides a jazzy finale, reminding you how much ground the riffs have covered without exactly drawing them together. Even more disjointed, then, than Sideswipe (1987)--but Willeford fans looking for a collection of great scenes and sentences rather than a tightly wound story will find this posthumous treat irresistible.

Pub Date: May 15th, 1993
ISBN: 0-88733-163-7
Page count: 272pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1993




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