BROWN SHOE by Rick Slone


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 First novel set in a revolution-ridden South American country much like Peru. The publisher suggests a hint of Graham Greene here, a likeness that is hard on Slone. Chapters ooze at us from revolving points of view and make this a slow-moving, thickly textured story, a pace not distant from The Honorary Consul or The Human Factor-- but there the likeness ends. Bobby Shafto, an American cook at Blacky's none-too-fancy restaurant, is really a photographer. One night Blacky tells him that he has a special job for him: to go into the hills and photograph never-before-photographed revolutionary leader Roberto Gavilan. Months back, the government set up an assassination of Gavilan that failed to go off--but the government announced its success anyway. Gavilan wants this lie rebutted by photographs to be released to the press. This huge scoop will get Bobby Shafto back on his feet as a news photographer--if he's successful. However, he falls for Nina de Bettancourt, his temporary model and the ravishing young mistress of cocaine-trafficking Colonel Rinaldi, whose elite unit is out to destroy Gavilan's Santo Moreno revolutionaries. Nina, once engaged to Rinaldi's son Alejandro, who was blown up (apparently by Rinaldi), wants to escape from her futureless tie with Rinaldi. It's bad news that Nina accompanies Bobby into the hills to find Gavilan. In fact, Rinaldi is aware of their moves and shows up in a helicopter to take them off to his wife's ranch for lunch--along with Gavilan (!), who is incognito. Knowing Gavilan has no serious number of troops, Rinaldi plays his victories over the revolution for print and prestige. Then he devises a massacre of the insurgents.... Bobby is such a boor that his spiritual rebirth via Nina is barely measurable. But Slone's eye for native life and the Peruvian countryside is first-rate, practically H********esque.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-679-40093-1
Page count: 340pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1992