Tropical Depression

Laurence Shames, Author Hyperion Books $21.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7868-6109-5
The portrayal of the Florida Keys as a hotspot of criminal ribaldry continues apace in Shames's latest thriller, a nifty follow-up to last year's Sunburn. Sufficiently depressed to have tried suicide, and now on Prozac, wealthy, middle-aged bra magnate Murray Zemelman abandons his ornamental second wife and showy Short Hills, N.J., home, setting out for the never-never land of the Keys to find meaning in his life. There, he befriends his fishing guide, an embittered Native American, Tommy Tarpon, the last surviving member of his tribe. Wishing to bestow a mitzvah on his new pal, Murray persuades Tommy to look into opening a legal gambling casino on the last, stinking bit of tribal land. Trouble comes in the form of greedy state senator Barney LaRue and Miami mafia kingpin Charlie Ponte, who scheme to take over the proposed operation. Fighting back, the Bra King and the Indian enlist a crew of crusaders including Murray's first wife, his business manager, his psychiatrist and Bert the Shirt, a former mob capo. Shames doesn't quite match the inspired whackiness of Carl Hiaasen or the artful characterizations and plotting of Elmore Leonard, but he knows how to put his tongue in his cheek--and he keeps it firmly, entertainingly, in place throughout. Author tour. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
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