A wacky thriller by the author of Easy Money (1983). Charlie, son of wealthy diamond merchant Victor Pine, would like to get along with his father, but his failed minor-league pitching career and current job as a substitute high-school teacher do not impress Dad as the marks of a man who will ever make anything of himself. Absconding with ashtrays from glamorous restaurants for Victor's stolen gift collection is not enough to win his approval, so Charlie is cajoled into participating in his father's latest scheme. Victor and a suave, brilliant Israeli physicist have joined together to transform flawed diamonds into perfect specimens of color and clarity by filling in their cracks, then superheating them. By increasing the world's supply of diamonds with these altered gems, they will threaten the elite ``Club'' that controls the diamond industry, upset the market, and make a fortune. Charlie's low profile makes him a good candidate to hand-deliver the flawed gems to the physicist and her buffoonish sidekick in Israel, but when one of Victor's employees is murdered, Charlie becomes entangled in danger and intrigue, and it's quite possible that his own father has set him up as the fall guy. Koperwas knows the diamond trade (he is a partner in a chain of jewelry stores), but the focus here is primarily on characterization. A sensitive baseball player, an authoritarian secretary, and a joke-spewing lawyer provide the book's best moments, much superior to the murder and a scene stolen shamelessly from Marathon Man. Plot is incidental to the central story of a sensitive man both attracted to and repelled by his new feelings of power as he searches for his father's approbation. The action sequences could use a dose of the physicist's fracture-fill technique, but the quirky characters are a delight.