An Hour to Kill

Edward Wellen, Author
Edward Wellen, Author St. Martin's Press $17.95 (228p) ISBN 978-0-312-09307-5
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The author of Hijack builds this sometimes heavy-handed crime novel on a flimsy premise. Returning from the Caribbean, where he fulfilled his assignment to kill the Brooklyn Borough President, a mob hitman named Mal stops off in a Miami airport coffee shop and observes the brother of a notorious Colombian drug lord roughing up a beautiful woman. Mal has some time before his plane leaves (hence the title), so he kills the abusive beau and makes it look like a robbery gone awry. When the girlfriend is accused of the murder, Mal returns to Miami to extort a phony confession from one of the drug lord's underlings, whom he then dispatches in a colorful fashion. By now, the drug lord is after Mal, whom his New York boss is willing to give up for the sake of inter-gang amity. Sent back to Miami for a hit that is actually a set-up, Mal must elude the police and his outlaw enemies while saving the girl once more. There's some fun here--Wellen enjoys a good pun as much as the meticulous details of an anonymous murder. It's too hard to believe, however, that callous, cold-blooded Mal would put himself in jeopardy three times for a woman he doesn't even know. ( June )
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