KISS ME ONCE by Thomas Maxwell


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A first suspense novel, openly built on a base of film noir, that's a tough and smart story of love, loyalty, and betrayal in New York in WW II years. Lew Cassidy, a professional football player whose wife is trapped in Nazi Germany, finds himself captivated by Cindy Squires, the gorgeous mistress of Max Bauman, the gangster who owns Cassidy's team. Bauman, a generous and likable crook, also seems to own Lew's longtime best friend Terry teary, a fast-rising NYC detective with a taste for the high life. On the same day that the Japs bomb Pearl Harbor, Cassidy takes a tackle that ends his playing career; and while he is in the hospital recuperating, Terry takes a couple of slugs from the gun of a grief-crazed homosexual and nearly dies. When they finally make it out of the hospital, Lew with a limp and Terry with an unremoved slug, they are permanently out of the war. But they're not out of action. Lew is drawn deeper and deeper into Max and Terry's warring world of crime and closer and closer to the seductive Cindy. And everyone that he meets seems to want a piece of Lew for one bad reason or another. Lucky Luciano wants him, Thomas E. Dewey wants him, and, it turns out, the beautiful Cindy wants him. This book takes a terrible risk in pinning itself to the too-fashionable film noir genre, but the atmosphere is thick and accurate, the story solid, the mood bittersweet, and the gamble pays off handsomely.

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 1986
Publisher: Mysterious Press--dist. by Farrar, Straus & Giroux