cover image Deadly Sweet

Deadly Sweet

Sterling Watson. Pocket Books, $22 (373pp) ISBN 978-0-671-87135-2

Watson (Weep No More My Brother) has created a stunning, intricate bit of Florida noir in this story about Eddy Priest, a non-practicing lawyer aiming for the simple life as a sailboat salesman on Florida's west coast. Beautiful Corey Darrow tells him of a plot to discredit her in her water management job in Okee City, north of Miami, and of her fears that she is being followed by someone driving an old Cadillac convertible. Eddie, smitten, suggests she's imagining things. When she's found in her car, drowned in a drainage canal with a Magnum in her hand, Eddie is guilt-stricken. Corey's equally beautiful sister, Sawnie, asks his help in probing Corey's death. Eddie is smitten all over again, and soon he and Sawnie are deep in a struggle with a ruthless sugar planter and his homicidal henchmen, two of the nastiest villains of recent fiction. It's hair-raising fun to watch the colorful characters work their own agendas. Sawnie, e.g., a top aide (and ex-mistress) of the populist governor, wants to run for Congress. Some spectacularly gorey deaths and a sudden bloody ending leave the suggestion that Eddie and Sawnie will continue the story. Readers will look forward to that. (Oct.)