RAG MAN by Pete Hautman


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Just what you’d expect from Hautman when he lays off his series regulars: the heartwarming story of a Twin Cities doormat whose life is turned around by the con-man who’s stolen every last penny from his business.

Mack MacWray might have been happy enough if he’d stayed in the backwaters of Linkway Sportswear, but he let Lars Larson, a people guy, talk him into quitting to become his partner in Mac-Lar Manufacturing, and when Larson and his bookkeeper/office manager Rita Monbeck skedaddle with the company kitty, Mack’s left holding the bag, liable for a towering pile of payments due suppliers, bank loans, and his in-laws’ retirement fund. His life looks hopeless—until he happens to come face to face with Larson on a little island off Cancún, a meeting only one of them walks away from. Suddenly, like Peter Parker bitten by a radioactive spider, Mack feels new power surging through him. He makes passionate love to his bewildered wife Paula, fights off his banker cousin, hires ruthless manager Jake Vink, buys Mac-Lar from its creditors for a song, and puts all those Hmong and Laotian employees back to work. As Mack soon discovers, however, the uncanny new ability to make things happen that he seems to have inherited from Larson is not without its downside. He’s lost his ethical moorings, and with them all interest in his workers, his creditors, and even his wife (he’s turned from sweeping her off her feet to bedding her best friend). And clouds are already forming overhead, in the shape of an inquisitive sheriff’s investigator and the vengeful Rita Monbeck, whom Larson had evidently handpicked for her Mac-Lar job because she was his wife.

Not as many belly laughs as Mrs. Million (1999), but Hautman’s skill at pulling the rug out from under his characters will keep you guessing till the very last page.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7432-0559-6
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2001


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