The Money Lovers

Timothy Watts, Author
Timothy Watts, Author Soho Press $20 (262p) ISBN 978-1-56947-008-4
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-56947-035-0
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Watts's second novel is patterned much like his fine first, Cons , offering deft noir thrills in the Elmore Leonard mode, a savvy hero who is willing to cross the law to outscam some vicious scammers and a prose style that echoes Leonard's relaxed phrasing. Freshly mustered Marine Jimmy Decker is the one who rights the wrongs here, blowing back home to Atlantic City to save old-flame-turned-lush Katherine from her abusive husband, a rich, crooked speculator busy ripping off investors in a land deal. Two quirky second-banana villains--a steroid-fueled bodybuilder and a thug who is drawn to torture--heat up the intricate, smoothly scrolling action. The body builder teams up with a sexy gold digger to blackmail Katherine, while the thug schemes to rip off her husband. Greed motivates everyone except Decker in Watts's convincingly cynical vision. Some nice twists, including a sharply ironic climax on a deserted beach, will especially please anyone who hasn't read Cons , or much of the Leonard ouevre. Once Watts finds his own voice, he'll be pleasing all readers equally. (June)
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