The Shark-Infested Custard: A Novel of Crime, Vice, and Sex

Charles Ray Willeford, Author Underwood-Miller $20.95 (263p) ISBN 978-0-88733-163-3
This dated and nihilistic tale from Willeford ( Miami Blues and Sideswipe ), who died in 1988 just as his largely underground reputation was drawing mainstream attention, leads readers into some nasty territory. The protagonists, including the narrator, are four young men of the 1970s, swingers who live in a singles-only apartment block in Miami and seem at the outset pretty harmless. Gradually, however, through bad luck, greed and and even innocence, each is corrupted, stripped bare and revealed as utterly corruptible, weak, misogynist and lost. The plot begins as they bet on successfully picking up a woman; the bet leads to farce about hiding a dead body, which then necessitates another murder. One falls in love with a married woman and tangles with the man she lives with; another returns to the marriage he hates and then schemes his way out of it. As the years pass, the four move out of their original lifestyle but all retain some gruesome habits. Female readers especially may find many of these pages sad and shocking. But, especially in his early noir period, Willeford never aimed for cute; the legions of fans he snared with his later Hoke Mosely quartet of novels are in for a dark ride. Fair warning. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1993
Release date: 06/01/1993
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-440-21881-4
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