FLOATER by Joseph Koenig


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A dandy first novel, heavy shades of Elmore Leonard, about a quirky serial killer and the Everglades sheriff out to nail him. As Laxahatchee County Sheriff Buck White--tall, black, and enamored of cowboy hats--is burying his murdered wife, convicted felon and champion lady-killer Ivan Norodny checks out of a Canadian prison and heads to Quebec. There, posing as an investment broker, he picks up Merry Belson, a young heiress looking for kicks. Travelling on stolen tickets, Norodony rides the rails with Merry to Florida; after a couple of bloody muggings to keep himself afloat, he proposes marriage. She accepts, but when Norodny learns that she has access to only a small portion of her inheritance, he drowns her in a bathtub at a hideaway hotel--on Sheriff Buck White's turf. White smells a rat in Norodny's story of epilepsy as the culprit in Merry's drowning, but before White can squeeze out the truth, Norodny escapes. While White and his deputies exhaust heart and soul in a futile attempt to pick up his trail, Norodny links forces with Alice Revere, a blonde bombshell of a con artist preying on elderly men. Norodny kills a second woman, a wealthy widow whose body he ""floats"" in the Everglades, and then a third, the female half of another con-artist team operating on White's territory. It is only by accident, while attempting to pick up this team for questioning, that White Finally is able to get his hands on Norodny--at which point he promptly drowns his prisoner in a swamp. In Norodny, Koenig has created a villain so fascinating that the ostensible protagonist, White, bores by comparison. But despite this imbalance in characters, the author's mordant humor, snappy dialogue, and frequent plot twists add up to a zesty, enjoyable story.

Pub Date: Dec. 10th, 1986
Publisher: Mysterious Press--dist. by Farrar, Straus & Giroux