Michigan Roll

Tom Kakonis, Author
Tom Kakonis, Author St. Martin's Press $16.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-02252-5
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
Well plotted, tautly paced and entertaining all the way, Kakonis's first novel focuses on an English professor gone wrong. A few years back, Waverly caught his wife in bed with another man, and the murderous aftermath led him into seven years of very hard time in state prison that toughened him up but simultaneously made him curiously vulnerable to certain things and people. Now, he is applying his exceptional powers of concentration to cards and making a nice living. The last thing he needs is poor little rich girl Holly Clemmons and her ne'er-do-well brother, a self-destructive lunatic who is trying to rip off a drug shipment from the mob. There are other satisfactorily gothic villains here, ranging from a Mafia smoothie named Dietz, to his hemorrhoidal henchman Gaylor Ledbetter, hitman ``Shadow,'' a pathological knifeman, and ``Gleep,'' a hulking muscle-man. In the climactic scene, the hero wages a nightmarish war with a contract killer who just keeps on coming no matter what is thrown at him. Kakonis's prose is clipped, idiomatic and funny in this literate thriller. (September)
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