The Flash Effect

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9780688109448: The Flash Effect

Failed baseball pitcher Charlie Pine tries to earn an honest living as a schoolteacher, but he cannot resist the temptation of an international jewelry scam with his shrewd father and reckless brother, and soon he is in over his head. 25,000 first printing. $20,000 ad/promo.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

A wacky thriller by the author of Easy Money (1983). Charlie, son of wealthy diamond merchant Victor Pine, would like to get along with his father, but his failed minor-league pitching career and current job as a substitute high-school teacher do not impress Dad as the marks of a man who will ever make anything of himself. Absconding with ashtrays from glamorous restaurants for Victor's stolen gift collection is not enough to win his approval, so Charlie is cajoled into participating in his father's latest scheme. Victor and a suave, brilliant Israeli physicist have joined together to transform flawed diamonds into perfect specimens of color and clarity by filling in their cracks, then superheating them. By increasing the world's supply of diamonds with these altered gems, they will threaten the elite ``Club'' that controls the diamond industry, upset the market, and make a fortune. Charlie's low profile makes him a good candidate to hand-deliver the flawed gems to the physicist and her buffoonish sidekick in Israel, but when one of Victor's employees is murdered, Charlie becomes entangled in danger and intrigue, and it's quite possible that his own father has set him up as the fall guy. Koperwas knows the diamond trade (he is a partner in a chain of jewelry stores), but the focus here is primarily on characterization. A sensitive baseball player, an authoritarian secretary, and a joke-spewing lawyer provide the book's best moments, much superior to the murder and a scene stolen shamelessly from Marathon Man. Plot is incidental to the central story of a sensitive man both attracted to and repelled by his new feelings of power as he searches for his father's approbation. The action sequences could use a dose of the physicist's fracture-fill technique, but the quirky characters are a delight. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

From the moment Charlie Pine steals an ashtray from a fancy Manhattan restaurant to bring as a birthday present to his estranged father, the reader is hooked on Koperwas's (Easy Money) new novel. Although Charlie's dad is a powerful diamond merchant who believes that "a man who built empires couldn't be afraid to steal," Charlie, 28, has held on to his principles. A baseball pitcher who can't quite make it to the Bigs, he works as a substitute junior high school teacher and coach. But Charlie hates his life as a "loser" and, despite his moral values, is ready to try out the flashy and corrupt business world in which his father and older brother, Marshall, have flourished. Once Charlie signs on to help with a multimillion-dollar scam based on the capability of an Israeli laboratory to upgrade low-quality diamonds, however, he finds himself in a baffling world in which no one, not even his blood relations, can be trusted. Koperwas knows that tales involving a scam satisfy most when an essentially innocent protagonist turns out to be just as larcenous, and a tad smarter, than the old pros-and no one will walk away disappointed from this high-spirited and engaging example.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Sam Koperwas
Published by William Morrow & Co (1994)
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