Winter Losses

Mark Probst, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $18.95 (311p) ISBN 978-0-374-29101-3
This first novel, by a stockbroker and former assistant district attorney, has a distinctly odd flavor, as if a post-modern version of a Louis Auchincloss novel had been infused with a dash of Elmore Leonard. Its protagonist is Philip Kreg, a Manhattan lawyer much involved in corporate affairs. He is a dour, unyielding man declining into solitude after the departure of an alcoholic wife; but when his grown son, Adam, a flashy ne'er-do-well, becomes involved with California and Florida gangsters, he allows his life to be turned inside out in the effort to rescue him from terrible danger. Probst writes in a highly sophisticated, allusive style that catches mood brilliantly but does not always clarify the progress of events. The time frame is sometimes unclear and there are too many characters in Kreg's life who are insufficiently differentiated, or whose roles seem superfluous. But Probst knows his lawyers and corporate chiefs, and his glitzy crime scenes, described through Adam's eyes, have a fine malevolence. The denouement, while perhaps inevitable, seems rather perfunctory and the muted ending is flat. But there's no doubt about Probst's original voice, and his ability to evoke middle-aged angst. (Apr . )
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
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