Tart, with a Silken Finish

Peter Barthelme, Author St. Martin's Press $13.95 (199p) ISBN 978-0-312-01832-0
Beaumont is back. That fast-talking, amiable liar of an ad man from Barthelme's previous novel Push, Meet Shove, finds that a nosy disposition can get a fellow into an awful lot of trouble. A dull ad campaign for a Texas bank becomes considerably more lively when Beaumont borrows a dangerous sheet of figures concerning American Title Investment Group Ltd., a fancy name for a muscle operation dabbling in drugs. Although the book's title might designate a pleasant wine or Beaumont's faithless girlfriend Margrit, it can also describe Mrs. Harthorne, the smooth-as-silk boss of ATIG who unleashes a host of bone-crushing goons on him, then sees to it that is livelihood, his home, and his future go down the drain. Trying to regain his footing and stay alive is a tricky business, so Vince, owner of the Foxy Lady bar, and sweet, spike-haired Tammy are enlisted to help. Cracking wise on every occasion, the novel is full of good humor, hot action and adroit sketches of Texan people and places. But the rushed, idiosyncratic first-person narrative, which has words tumbling over one another in a loosely connected stream of chatter, is, in the long run, more irritating than enticing. (August)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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