Man Eater

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( 20 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780399149764: Man Eater

Drop-dead gorgeous Ronnie Deal is an up-and-comer at Velocity Pictures, whose enviable, fast-paced Hollywood lifestyle takes a major detour after a really bad day at the office. Fuming at the Tiki Shack Bar over a rival's latest attempt to derail her career, Ronnie comes to the rescue of a girl being beaten by an angry thug, unaware that Antsy Carruth has stolen twenty-five grand from her drug mule ex-boyfriend, and hired enforcer Neon Polk has been sent to get the money back. When Ronnie batters Polk unconscious with a beer bottle and Antsy takes a powder, Polk, humiliated and blinded with rage, seeks vengeance.

But people in The Business don't call Ronnie "Raw Deal" for nothing, and Polk won't have his revenge without paying for it. Enter Ellis Langford, ex-con and aspiring screenwriter. Langford has an angry ex-wife, a long-lost child, and a pair of Hispanic killers who want him dead, but if showing Ronnie how to make a real "killing" will earn him the Hollywood payday he's after . . .

Fast, furious, and laugh-out-loud funny, Man Eater is a stylish, cinematic thriller fans of Tinseltown high adventure are sure to enjoy.

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Review:

Here's the delicious setup of this Hollywood crime thriller, which seems aimed at fans of Elmore Leonard, Carl Hiaasen, and Quentin Tarantino: Smart, gorgeous film producer Ronnie Deal is in a bar unwinding after a Day from Hell when she sees a thug beating up a defenseless young lady. Ronnie snaps and--astonishing herself as well as the bar's other patrons--viciously coldcocks him with a beer bottle. Now the thug wants revenge, and Ronnie needs protection. Where to turn? Well, among her pile of screenplays is one by an ex-con who seems to know an awful lot about how to kill someone--and thus an unlikely partnership is born. Soon Ronnie and the ex-con are battling a growing series of lethal complications involving stolen drug money, several vengeful psychopaths, child abduction, an underworld kingpin, and a conniving coworker.

Unfortunately, the whole enchilada is less fun than it should be. Ray Shannon, a pseudonym for an "award-winning author," according to the publisher, lacks the lightness of touch, the economy of means, and the feel for people that animate Elmore Leonard's and Carl Hiaasen's writing. Many of the characters are so underdeveloped they're little more than cardboard cutouts. Nonetheless, Man Eater is a diverting read thanks to its breakneck pacing, its outré violence, and its grimly funny jabs at the movie business. --Nicholas H. Allison

From Publishers Weekly:

"Few things were admired more in Hollywood than the clean kill... better that you were known for having once cut an adversary's heart out with a scalpel than disemboweled him with a pickax." This is the essence of newcomer Shannon's view of the movie business, and it sums up both the sardonic humor and offhanded brutality of this clever thriller. The author (an accomplished writer and Hollywood insider hiding behind a pseudonym-probably a smart move) devises the best rip-off of an Elmore Leonard novel since Elmore Leonard. He interweaves the lives of Ronnie Deal (a sexy producer on the rise, with a tormented past and a slimy colleague bent on drumming her out of the business), Ellis Langford (an ex-con sweating his parole in order to regain visitation rights to his estranged family), the Ayala brothers (vicious, drug-dealing morons), Antsy Carruth (a trashy bimbo who lifts a pile of stolen drug money from her trashy ex-boyfriend) and Neon Polk (the psychotic enforcer dispatched to retrieve the money). Shannon adroitly threads plots and subplots together, occasionally smashing characters into one another with much brio and bloodshed. While his manipulations of his hilarious characters would befit an R-rated Looney Tunes cartoon, some of his finest moments are his wonderfully carnivorous swipes at Hollywood's twisted spawn: "It was the story of a professional wrestler -turned-homicide detective on the trail of a snowboarding band of serial killers. The working title was `Blood on the Mat.' " This novel is a must for fans of Leonard, Wambaugh and Hiaasen.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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