Ex-con Frank Cullen is trying to straighten up his act after serving time in a Florida prison, but his boss's wife and her younger sister want to pull him back into the robbery business.
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Watts's seductive debut thriller, featuring small-time crooks planning big-time crime in rural Beaufort, S.C., will steal hearts and win respect with its crisp grifter's patter and curveball plot line. Ex-con Frank (Cully) Cullen's plan to go straight evaporates when he slugs his boss. Herb Dorrance, a wealthy farm owner who witnesses the fight, gets the sheriff to let Cully out of jail by hiring him as a chauffeur for his seductive wife, Michelle, a former bar chanteuse. But almost immediately Herb shows his ugly true colors and his wife turns up her body heat, making Cully very nervous. Cully earns his pay when Michelle's former husband, bank robber Benny Marsh, gets out of Raiford State Penitentiary (Cully's alma mater) and into Herb's hair. Cully chases him off with a chain saw, putting hate in Benny's heart, steel in Herb's back and a plan in Michelle's head. But Cully falls for her gorgeous lookalike sister Kristin, erstwhile girlfriend of Benny's missing bank-robber partner and gun moll wannabe, and when Michelle pitches a big-score plan to Cully--along with the inevitable fringe benefit--he and Kristin decide to scoop the scam. Benny turns out to be smarter and meaner than he looks, making for a nerve-shredding ending. Watts has a solid noir voice, and his characters are both slimy and lucky enough to be worthy of Jim Thompson or James Crumley.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This first novel could be summed up by the phrase, "Who cares?" It's all been done before--and better. Frank Cullen (Cully), just out of prison and already in a fight, is handed a job as chauffeur to a wealthy farmer in Beaufort, South Carolina. All the cliches are here: the con with a good heart; the rich, bullying husband; the beautiful, young, two-timing wife; and the local punks and psycho ex-husband. There's even the regulation graphic sex scene. Prepub publicity compares Watts to hard-boiled favorites Elmore Leonard and James M. Cain, but that's just cold scrambled eggs. After four brutal deaths, the happy ending for Cully and Kristin (sister of the beautiful wife) is incongruous. This novel shows once again that gritty reality is more than four letter words and that formula must engage the reader.
- Rebecca S. Kelm, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Soho Press, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0939149702
Book Description Soho Press, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0939149702
Book Description Soho Press, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110939149702
Book Description Soho Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0939149702 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.2078518