SUMMER'S REASON by Cherokee Paul McDonald


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Another barely fictional account (""the criminal activities portrayed are happening in real life, today"") of malfeasance in the Sunshine State, courtesy of police chronicler McDonald (the nonfictional Under Contract: A Cop Hired to Kill, 1992, etc.). It looks like blue skies ahead for motorcycle patrol officer Jessie Summer after she breaks up a jewel robbery, leaving one thief dead. She's temporarily reassigned to Homicide to follow up the case, and laid-back local mobster Dominic Tatari offers to swap her some info on an unsolved homicide if she'll deliver $300,000 to some tough Latinos his son Dom is mixed up with. Jessie makes the payoff, but returns to find Tatari killed, no-good Dom in charge of his father's interests, and herself in the middle of a mess that gets worse every time Dom flexes his muscles. He moves from drug smuggling, prostitution (through his strip club, Dreamland), and kiddie porn to the main event, child slavery, with the help of his ruthless Philippine connections -- all while cultivating his squeaky-clean relationship with Rapier Marine CEO Tiffany Eastin (also the beneficiary of a timely parental demise) and her brother Jack. In a Chandleresque departure from McDonald's generally gritty realism, the upscale Eastins turn out to be the kinkiest couple of all: Tiffany invites Jessie over to her pool with a photo session cum seduction in mind, and she's constantly squabbling with Jack about who's going to be the real best friend of the Philippine girl scheduled to be delivered to them. A second fit of John Wayne heroics with a hostage-taking pornographer in a crowded store sends Jessie back to patrol duty, but never fear: She'll overcome official back-stabbing and her traumatic memories of her own childhood abuse to finish off whatever villains haven't already wiped each other out. A cops-and-robbers thriller so chockablock with subplots, walk-ons, and unfocused revulsion that it reads like an unedited brainstorming session for a whole season of Miami Vice.

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 1994
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Donald Fine