DEADLY SWEET by Sterling Watson


Email this review


Warmed-over Florida noir from rolling-stone novelist Watson (Blind Tongues, 1988). When the inoffensive botanist who came to see her boss, Clinton Reynolds, at the Florida Bureau of Water Management disappears along with every computerized trace of his visit, Corey Darrow wangles an introduction to Eddie Priest, a college football legend turned lawyer -- not knowing that Eddie's been bullied into retirement and is making a living selling sailboats. Eddie hears Corey out, takes her for a therapeutic minicruise aboard the Sight Unseen, doesn't quite seduce her, sends her on her way with the usual assurances, and hears the next morning that she's drowned, a .357 Smith and Wesson clutched in her hand, in a canal her car ran into on the way home. The setup would be obvious to anybody who'd ever read a book, but Eddie and Corey's lookalike sister Sawnie never have, and you wouldn't believe how long it takes them to convince themselves that Corey was run off the road by sociopathic Creek Indian Harry Feather, who got a little carried away executing agribusiness magnate Lofton Coltis's orders to give Corey a serious scare. Coltis is out to protect his empire from the secret the mysterious botanist had dug up; Eddie is stung by guilt to avenge Corey; Sawnie wants vengeance too, but not if it means revealing her illicit romance and aborting her congressional campaign; Harry's first love, Moira Breath, back from Barnard with practical law knowledge, wants to reclaim Coltis's land for her tribe; Harry just likes to lean on people. Watson writes as if he had one complicated tale to tell -- his incantatory approach to Florida landscapes and human relations is right out of John D. MacDonald at his windiest -- but ends up resolving all his problems by wholesale manslaughter instead of developing the conflicts within. Six corpses, all without a clue.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1994
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Pocket