BIG TOWN by Doug J. Swanson


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 An ebullient noir comedy about the mad scramble for escalating shares of a Dallas motivational speaker's off-the-books cash. At the request of the injured wife, cheesy lawyer Hal Roper tabs sometime op Jack Flippo--an ex-assistant D.A. whose life took a sharp turn for the worse after he got seduced by a drug-dealer's wife--to get the goods (glossies, audiotape) on philandering Buddy George, Jr.'s rendezvous with teenaged manicurist Sharronda Simms. An ugly scene in the American Executive Inn (Buddy's not into vanilla sex) exposes Jack to Buddy and Sharronda, but he still succeeds in delivering the tape to the client before he realizes that she isn't really Mrs. George; it'll be much longer before he figures out that she's actually Paula Fontaine, Buddy's assistant at Motivational Enterprises, who's using both him and Sharronda as pawns in a shakedown for $10,000. Buddy, who didn't get where he is by rolling over, tells Paula he's going to kill the blackmailer and promptly hires Roper's ultra-clean, ultra-dumb gofer Teddy Tunstra II for the job. But Paula effortlessly gets Teddy in her corner, promising him $10,000 for killing Jack and Sharronda and planning to bill Buddy for much more. Sharronda runs to Jack, not knowing that he's a sucker for Paula's perfume, and only too ready herself to come out of hiding when the woman who hired her (still Paula, in case you're getting confused) lures her back to the motel, followed closely by her no-account, Percodan-popping boyfriend Delbert, for the payoff. There's more, much more, to come, with each new betrayal upping the ante. The final payoff is inevitably a letdown. Meanwhile, Elmore Leonard fans can rejoice in a newly minted storyteller whose moves are so sure that each new double-cross brings a smile of pure joy--about the only pure emotion in this spirited debut.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-06-017749-7
Page count: 244pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1993


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