THE CATCH by Kim Wozencraft

THE CATCH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A powerful, polemical third novel from former narc and ex-con Wozencraft (Notes from the Country Club, 1993; Rush, 1990) that polishes a standard crime story to a literate gleam. Kurt and Annie Trowbridge, two picture-perfect urban refugees, live with their two shiny, happy sons in a house nestled in the Catskills. Content, loving, they even have the ideal business to bring in the bucks: a roadside antique shop. But far more money comes from Kurt's avocation as a marijuana smuggler. Annie wants her husband to go legit, and he begins thinking about it when DEA Joe Kessler links Kurt to a downed pot plane in the nearby hills. Annie stands by her man, but begins to ask herself if marriage to an outlaw is best for herself and her children. Instead of stoically accepting his fate, Kurt tries to pull off one final score to pay his legal fees, provide security for his family, and prove himself better than his captors. Divorced, depressed Kessler, meanwhile, begins to see in Annie and her kids the domestic tranquility missing from his life. When Kurt's big score goes awry, he goes fugitive and Kessler hovers ever closer to Annie. The two fall in love, and Annie must choose between her lawless but loving husband and the stalwart, kindly protector. Wozencraft tries to make Annie's choice seem morally ambiguous, but she leans toward Kurt, as she poses by the now tiresome argument that smuggling, which provides a service, is equivalent to, if not better than, many of the blatantly immoral preoccupations of the straight world. In the end, we're left with the unconvincing assumption that the world would be a better place if certain undomesticated males would only outgrow their puerile obsessions. A carefully crafted, character-driven tale that, when it isn't making trite statements about morality, finds bitter irony in the dark furies that drive those who only want to do good.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1998
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Doubleday