Fans of Jim Thompson, David Goodis, and Barry Gifford take note: Watts (Cons, 1993) has penned a noir novel of greed, graft, and lust just filled with kinky, double-crossing sleazeballs. Wesley, carrying a bag full of ransom money taken from an Atlantic City millionaire he's tortured and killed, shows up at Nicky Kramer's South Carolina manse hoping to use the marked cash to invest in one of Nicky's ""deals."" Boyish-faced, pot-bellied Nicky is married to Katherine, a very successful fashion model with a severe drinking problem. The most recent additions to her portfolio are going to cost her money: They show her doing intimate things to and with a man, not her husband. The guy collecting the blackmail is Ellis Bowers, a gun-loving weightlifter with an acne problem he disguises with makeup. Ellis (who eats nothing but shrimp) is involved in the deal with Susie who appears to be calling the shots. She's Katherine's ""best friend,"" but she's also sleeping with Nicky. All of these folks are waiting for Nicky to consummate a real-estate scare with some all-too-gullible local businessmen. Onto this scene strides ex-Marine Jimmy Decker, fresh from the Gulf War, where he specialized as a sniper. An old high school sweetheart, he decides to rescue Katherine after Nicky brutally rapes her. (Not completely defenseless, she gets Nicky's gun and blows away his CD player -- she hates Sinatra -- while a delighted Wesley looks on.) Jimmy (who also has his eye on Susie) and Katherine hole up in a motel while he tries to sort out her various problems. When Nicky collects the money from the ""investors"" in the swindle, it becomes a scramble to see who will end up with which woman, who will wind up with the money -- and who will stay alive. Despite a less-than-polished narrative, a diverting, gritty caper peopled by delightfully detestable creatures.