DREAMBOAT by Doug J. Swanson


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 Leaving his nagging ex-wife and her wannabe-filmmaker lover, Tony Angel, back in Dallas, PI Jack Flippo heads out to nothingburg Baggett, Tex., to look into a $500,000 insurance claim on one Mingo Gideon. He finds, uh, one or two irregularities. Mingo's partner in the Melon Patch Ranch, Rex Echols (who took out the policy), had the body cremated a day after its recovery without benefit of a medical exam, an autopsy, a funeral, or more than one postmortem photograph. Could Rex be pulling a fast one? And could Baggett Sheriff Loyce Slapp, the good old boy who threatens Jack one afternoon and practically kills him that night, be in for a piece of the insurance action? You bet: In fact, the sheriff, who dreams of an endless Caribbean honeymoon with Melon Patch waitress April Showers filling in for his forgettable wife, is holding out for a bigger slice of the pie, imperiling unsung songwriter Rex's dreams of his own studio, Echolsound. Meantime, back in Dallas, that other struggling artist, Tony Angel, has put everything on hold to get revenge on Jack for the unforgivable insult of slicing off his ponytail. It's up to Jack and Melon Patch bartender Sally Danvers to set the bad guys--Tony, Rex, Rex's dead-shot wife, Baby, the sheriff, and conveniently missing witness Bobby Slater--against one another before it's too late to check out of Baggett. Not as joyously inventive as Jack's debut in Big Town (1994), but Swanson makes you glad he knows every last thing about these guys and where they live and what they're gonna do next.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-06-017748-9
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1994


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