Virgin Heat

Laurence Shames, Author Hyperion Books $21.45 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7868-6203-0
Goofball goombahs careen through Shames's latest Florida-based comic thriller, a Mafia slapstick that has its funny moments but lacks the depth or vigor to carry a reader's interest along for the entire ride. Ziggy Maxx, working as a bartender in Key West, was Sal Martucci before he ran away from the Witness Protection Program. Now he augments his tips with small-time crime for a local mobster and turns his face away from tourist cameras for fear that Paul Amaro, the New York capo he ratted out, will recognize him under all his plastic surgery. Ziggy's plight is meant to arouse sympathy, but his personality is so roughly sketched that it's hard to understand why Amaro's daughter, the winsome virgin Angelina, would have pined for such a putz for eight years. But pine she has. And, after her uncle Louie shows some home movies of his Key West vacation, including a shot of a bartender making a Virgin Heat cocktail, Angelina, having recognized the bartender's dexterous hands, leaves New York for the sultry Key in search of her lost love. There's also a gay tourist named Michael with convenient access to a homosexual resort hotel, Louie's nagging wife, some fumbling feds and a selection of New York and Florida felons. Shames (Tropical Depression) executes his strokes smoothly, but those strokes are all painted strictly in primary colors, by the numbers. Major ad/promo; author tour. (Mar.) FYI: Hyperion will simultaneously publish Tropical Depression in paperback.
Reviewed on: 03/03/1997
Release date: 03/01/1997
Hardcover - 275 pages - 978-1-57490-084-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-7868-9477-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 374 pages - 978-0-7868-8927-3
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-55927-415-9
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-595-46913-0
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