Crash Course: A Truman Kicklighter Mystery

Kathy Hogan Trocheck, Author HarperCollins Publishers $22.5 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-017642-6
An unlikely trio of sleuths brings levity, mayhem and, ultimately, justice to this tale of con men and murder set in steamy St. Petersburg, Fla. Truman Kicklighter, a retired journalist, gets easily bored living at the Fountain of Youth Residential Hotel, and it is with some satisfaction that he takes up the cause of Jackie, a feisty but reckless black waitress at the hotel who has purchased a lemon of a Corvette from Jeff Cantrell, smarmy salesman at Bondurant Motors. The Corvette, however, is central to the insurance scams run by Ronald Bondurant, who steals the car from Jackie. She then brazenly tries to steal it back-only to discover that Jeff's body is lying in the hatch. Truman, Jackie and Ollie, a dwarf who runs a newsstand, decide the police must be called, but by the time the cops arrive, the body has disappeared. Pooling wits and resources, often bumbling and working at cross-purposes, the threesome pries deeper into the Bondurant outfit and discovers a truly sordid history. This Kicklighter story (the second, after Lickety-Split) often rivals a Marx brothers film in antics and manic behavior and features a bizarre, disappointing finale. Yet some readers will appreciate Trocheck's senior-citizen setting and her sharply etched, unique characters, in particular the unexpected creation of a repo man with a heart. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/02/1997
Release date: 02/01/1997
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