OUTLAWS by Tim Green


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Former Atlanta Falcons player Green, now a TV color analyst, has taken a stab at football-themed thrillers twice before (Titans, 1994, etc.), with tepid results; this time, he tosses a killing-machine CIA operative into the less-than-gripping mix. Striker is his name and selling arms to the highest bidder, under CIA sanction, is his game. But matters have gone sour for the Texas-based cowboy-style James Bond: A shakeup at The Company has put unwanted tails on his efforts to pull off one big score that will allow him to start a new life. In the process of enticing a bitter US general into stealing some weapons-grade plutonium, Striker realizes that he needs an accomplice. He finds her in the eyeball-popping form of his latest chippie, the gold-digging wife of a has-been NFL free safety, Cody Grey of the Austin Outlaws. Jenny Grey, in between athletic sessions of sackplay with Striker, undergoes a transformation from vapid social-climber to calculating cohort in crime. Meanwhile, thanks to Striker's ""cleanup"" work around town--the murder of two teenagers and the killing of an IRS man who'd been carrying on a vendetta against Cody and Jenny--Cody finds himself the one facing a homicide charge. After this frameup by Striker, Cody's only hope is pretty Madison McCall, a hotshot D.A. with a history of trouble with pro jocks. For help, Madison has a low-key tax lawyer, along with an intrepid forensic pathologist. Not surprisingly, Cody and Madison end up in bed, and the lady lawyer begins to make connections between Striker and the murders. Striker stays on top, however, almost until the bloody end. It all reads like a soup of recent thriller plots, with light references to the O.J. trial spread throughout. In place of an alluring central character, there's a sadistic cipher; and instead of an agile plot, a compensatory tangle of awkward subplots.

Pub Date: March 31st, 1996
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Turner