UNDONE by Michael Kimball


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 Supercharged fallout from a con man's ingenious plot to fake his own death and take off with the loot he's socked away--a stash that attracts other get-rich-quick types like sharks sniffing blood. Since he's always known when the bank officer he rolled over on for making him a shady $2 million loan will get out of jail and come looking for him, Bobby Swift's had a long time to make his plans. He's transferred the money safely offshore, practiced shallow breathing, and planted stories about his father dying of heart failure. Now, with the help of a benighted local physician and a corruptible undertaker, he's ready to play dead on Blueberry Blossom Night. The plan calls for him to suffer a heart attack in his exercise room, lie in an open casket in Eliot Wicker's funeral home, and get buried with enough compressed oxygen for five hours before his trusted wife Noel digs him up. But Bobby doesn't reckon with Noel's siren charms, which work like a machine gun set on full automatic, and soon half of Gravity, Maine, is in the picture, all with their own agendas. Wicker, with one eye on Noel and the other on the money, ends up taking Bobby's place in his coffin. Bobby's friend Sal Erickson, tumbling off the wagon, becomes convinced that he's somehow been involved in digging up Bobby's corpse and killing Wicker. Sal's wife Iris throws him out of the house and into the tireless arms of Noel. Iris's brother Jerry, not content with the misery he's already made of Iris's life, decides to blackmail Noel with what he knows about Bobby's death and plunges his worthless self and his relatives into more trouble than he can imagine. The core of the story is the old, old one of a decent man stretched to his limits between two women, but Kimball (Firewater Pond, 1985) plots far more generously than any noir writer. The result is an edgy delight, with something for everyone but the luckless cross-plotters.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-380-97305-7
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1996


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