FAST LANE by Ralph Arnote


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A pedestrian nonthriller about a philandering husband who, after wandering from the straight and narrow, strays witlessly into major crime. Jason Granger, presumably brilliant but actually brainless, is on the fast lane for corporate promotion--until he shoots himself in the foot. Or, to be more precise, gets himself punched in the head, repeatedly, by a nut case who takes exception (legitimately) to the way Jason drives, follows him into a highway restroom, and beats him senseless. Jason, the high-flyer, is now officially in free fall. To begin with, his wronged wife, bent on payback, hires the indefatigable Willy Hanson Detective Agency (A Rage in Paradise, 1997, etc.) to investigate on her behalf. Willy's charge this time out: catch hubby in flagrante delicto, so that he can be hammered in his discretionary income, a good part of which he's been spending on a sexpot secretary while setting another portion aside for the powdery white stuff, which he's been abusing with gusto. But it's when Jason convinces himself that it's a good idea to pose as a kidnapper that he really sets feckless feet on the path of no return. When Jason learns from media coverage that young Tad Houston is missing, he thinks it's a target of opportunity. Why not pretend that Tad's been grabbed, and use this as a way to get back at Sonny, Tad's daddy and the loose cannon whose road rage sent Jason to the hospital. Bad decision, deplorable results. In short order, Jason loses promotion, wife, mistress, and beloved red Corvette, with still more to go. Meantime, Willy and colleagues have been earning their retainer--lurid evidence compiled, missing child located, and madcap Sonny Houston run to ground in a denouement as predictable as it is labored. Characters without spark, prose without style, plotting without surprises.

Pub Date: Dec. 3rd, 1998
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Forge/Tor