LEADING LADY by Heywood Gould


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A streetwise petty criminal and an exotic dancer shake a criminal dynasty up—and down.

A botched burglary sends Jerry Lang to prison and results in the killing of his ladylove and partner in crime Gloria Pavlich. Sidestepping a murder attempt by the prison’s Mexican Mafia, Jerry, motivated more by vengeance than a desire for freedom, jumps at a chance to escape. Suspecting that Hanif, the Albanian operator who arranged many of Jerry’s heists, double-crossed him in his last job, he visits Casbah, a sleazy strip club in the West Village that Hanif owns and uses as his base of operations. Hanif convinces exotic dancer Letitia to invite Jerry back to her apartment, where Hanif has prepared an ambush by two thugs. But when Jerry turns the tables on them, killing both, Letitia becomes an accomplice, at first unwilling and then ambivalent. They take Hanif hostage, then toss him into the trunk of their car and move up to his boss, Joe Di, a Mafia don with convenient periods of memory loss. With each step, Jerry and Letitia get in deeper. Overseeing (and controlling?) it all is Cliff Hartung, a Delta Force Major seconded to Special Ops Domestic in order to take Jerry out.

Veteran screenwriter and novelist Gould (Double Bang, 1988, etc.) writes with infectious crackle and humor. Colorful back stories peppered throughout add tension.

Pub Date: Feb. 20th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-59414-648-0
Page count: 300pp
Publisher: Five Star
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2008