PLAYERS by Clay Reynolds

PLAYERS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 All hell breaks loose in the Texas underworld when two immensely valuable compact disks (containing all-purpose eavesdropping/surveillance programs developed by a covert federal agency) goes missing after a botched highway robbery: a bleak, unsentimental but engrossing thriller from Reynolds (Franklin's Crossing, 1992, etc.). Three years after the fatal CD hijacking (in which he played a fall-guy role that cost him time in a state prison), Eddy Lovell is working for Dallas racketeer Moria Mendle. An unlucky sort whose post-SMU football hopes were dashed by a knee injury, the sometime linebacker cares about little in life other than his daughter Barbara, who was taken from him as an adolescent by his wealthy sister Hillary with the connivance of brother Quincy, a well- connected Houston lawyer. Eddy and Barbara nonetheless manage to maintain phone contact, even after she flees to southern California to escape her domineering aunt. In Houston with Mendle (who's investigating the savage murder of his partner) and a sphinx-like bodyguard, the ex-con learns that Barbara has been abducted at the behest of the corrupt Hillary and Quincy, who are still looking for those priceless CDs. Vicki Sigel, an actress friend of Barbara's, has also been abducted by thugs in search of the CDs, but she proves herself a tough cookie on a wild, homicidal ride from Los Angeles to Balmorhea State Park in west Texas. Eddy's unprincipled siblings and boss head by different routes for a rendezvous at the Park. In a bloody, last-stand windup, armed, dangerous, and desperate players take a heavy toll on one another before G-men (who've infiltrated the ranks of all interested parties) pop out of the underbrush to claim the CDs and ensure everyone left standing gets approximately what's coming to them. A fine, twisty tale of betrayal, crime, and punishment among lowlifes at all socioeconomic levels of the Lone Star State. (Film rights to Daydream Entertainment)

Pub Date: July 14th, 1997
ISBN: 0-7867-0407-1
Page count: 416pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1997