A wild, winsome new adventure starts for Artie Deemer (Lover Man, 1987) when he falls for pool-shark Crystal Spivey, whose obnoxious husband, Trammel Weems, promptly turns up dead. Or does he? The sole witness to his drowning, Artie's lowlife lawyer buddy Bruce Munger, gets beaten up by goons obviously so unconvinced by his story that they go on to kidnap Crystal, as Artie and his ill-assorted crew--nosy journalist Chester Bream, slippery CIA cowboy Norman Armbrister, Artie's muscular Bahamian pal Calabash, and of course his celebrity dog Jellyroll--try to protect themselves from Trammel's mysterious legacy by getting the goods on the crooks of CONCOM armed only with a smoking-gun videotape that bears an eerie resemblance to It's a Wonderful Life. Sparkling from the very first pitch. Ross Thomas had better watch his back.