Pat Jordan, Author . Carroll & Graf/Penzler $24 (272p) ISBN 978-0-7867-1026-3

Transformation is the name of the game in this hard-as-nails, supercharged excursion into the dark side of south Florida, the world of schemers and dealers and anything for a price, from journalist Jordan (A False Spring, etc.). These individuals are not shy about taking what they want, and they play for keeps. Sheila Mackenzie, née Ryan, a reserved, 40-ish recently divorced actress, is at loose ends. When she meets Bobby Squared, born Bobby Redfeather, a sometime stripper and full-time dealer in questionable goods, her life suddenly takes a new direction. When she moves in with him and sheds her old life, Sheila begins to take on a new personality and a wilder, tougher, more passionate self unfolds. Good at disguises and strategy, she fits right into the middle of operations with Bobby's Cherokee partner, Sol. Too bad they incur the wrath of Medina, the exiled Cuban gangster who has a long memory and bides his time to exact revenge. Sheila's cold blue eyes take it all in and give away nothing. By the end, she has killed a few people, bad guys to be sure, but they are dead. Jordan delivers local color and an atmosphere in which violence and death are commonplace among the rastas, rednecks and neo-Nazis who dwell on the edge of the swamps and obey few rules. Sol, Bobby and Sheila have their moments, but almost all the female characters are victims of one sort or another and most of the males are predators. Life on the run seems a high price to pay for the illusion of freedom. (Aug. 1)

Reviewed on: 07/01/2002
Release date: 07/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
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