PUMA by Ulf Miehe


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Puma"" (he's nicknamed after a shoulder tattoo) is a Jean Gabin-styled, illusionless French criminal who has taken a nine-year dive so that his two cohorts could remain free. They were supposed to take care of his girlfriend with his share while he was behind bars--but one companion became an addict and the other sank their dough into international drug smuggling. Now Puma is out of jail and looking for revenge. He has also set up a heist. With the aid of an emotionless Polish-American (reminiscent of Richard Widmark's pathological Tommy Udo in Kiss of Death) and an alcoholic Englishman, he kidnaps Billie Kammerloh, the swinging teenage daughter of a German armaments maker (read Krupp). But first he quite accidentally seduces her. Since Billie has already had a big fight with her father and split from his roof, the kidnap notice is received with contempt by Dad, who thinks she has set up the kidnap herself as a way of throttling a few million marks out of him. And then the killer Pole falls for Billie, and she really does decide to join the kidnappers against her father à la P. Hearst. The gray, gray story leaps about Europe and the States and keeps up a tone of postwar despair that apparently goes over big in Germany where this novel has already sold 270,000 copies. Very entertaining--if you like sitting in a closed garage with the motor running.

Pub Date: March 27th, 1978
Publisher: St. Martin's