Me and Brenda

Philip Israel, Author W. W. Norton & Company $17.95 (223p) ISBN 978-0-393-02860-7
This offbeat, Runyonesque caper shows uncanny insight into the psychology of the con man and his all-too-willing victims. Al Croppe, self-styled modeling agent, financier, medical expert and ``entrepren-ewer,'' has a knack for conning anyone within arm's reach. Dave Winger, naive Ohio housepainter transplanted to Queens, N.Y., is easy prey. Before he can say rubber check, Dave owes a bank 50 grand, he's missing an attache case full of Atlantic City casino money, he's charged with a crime, has a crook for a lawyer and a gold-digger girlfriend. Dave's woes are narrated by Russ, a driver for a Queens car service who gets mixed up in the shenanigans even though he takes Croppe for a con from the word go. Russ's accommodating wife, Brenda, is an abiding presence in his behind-the-wheel discourse. First novelist Israel displays a street-smart ear for dialogue and a gift for comedy in this entertaining if lightweight romp. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1990
Release date: 08/01/1990
Paperback - 223 pages - 978-0-380-71537-4
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