Winter (The Morning Calm, 1989, etc.) presents the next generation of in-your-face detective stories, complete with fast-paced action and plenty of cleavage.
Private-investigator Tom Larkin is a semi-retired Drug Enforcement Administration agent who is both hero and loose canon. Flashbacks and murky dream sequences introduce Larkin’s world. Frequent DEA business trips, hard drinking and sleazy affairs end the strained relationship between Larkin and his wife, Vera. Shortly after their breakup, Larkin is sent on an assignment to Bangkok, where he drowns his sorrows in whiskey and sex. When Vera and two of her co-workers are brutally murdered, Larkin’s teenaged niece is kidnapped and the DEA training school is bombed, killing 39 cadets, Larkin is summoned back to the States. Soon after his return, he’s sent to Jamaica to investigate a drug ring that is suspected of having ties to the murders. He meets Minnie Rabelle, only daughter of a former powerful politician. She is rumored to be the mistress of Guy Jasparre, head of a narcotics cartel in the Caribbean. The sexual tension between Larkin and Minnie builds, as their paths continue to cross. She blackmails Larkin into searching for family papers that will insure her legacy. He battles crooked DEA, CIA and British Secret Service agents, as well as his own libido, to unearth the documents and solve the murders. In five concluding short stories, themes encompass tales of a long-missing heiress, who suddenly resurfaces for her cut of the family inheritance; a schedule-oriented femme fatale, who misses her morning taxi; a young girl, who grows up to have an unusual tryst with her uncle; a close friend, who takes a suspicious header off a 13th-floor balcony; and a dubious accident that shakes up a couple’s love nest.
Segments of well-written prose bleed into graphic language, cheap sex and antiquated male values.