cover image Heart Attack and Vine: A Crush Novel

Heart Attack and Vine: A Crush Novel

Phoef Sutton. Prospect Park (Consortium), $24.95 (350p) ISBN 978-1-938849-84-8

Set in Hollywood, Sutton’s terrific sequel to 2015’s Crush finds Caleb “Crush” Rush working as a bodyguard and courier for Rachel Fury, “part-time actress, full-time grifter,” in what turns out to be a con involving the letters of transit prop from Casablanca and an underworld figure. Three years later, Rachel reenters Crush’s life as Rachel Strayhorn, an up-and-coming star nominated for an Oscar. She needs protection from a stalker during a birthday party for her current mark, director Adam Udell. Out at the pool at Adam’s place, someone fires a shot, but is it at Adam or Rachel? Against his better judgment, Crush agrees to travel with Adam’s movie-making circus to New Orleans, and this time, the shots that ring out in the night find their mark. The violence and sex mixed with the ongoing multiple cons give this something of an R-rated Scooby-Doo feel, while the multiplicity of suspects and red herrings is straight out of Agatha Christie. Calm, steady Crush makes a wonderful lead. Agent: Allison Cohen, Gersh Agency. (Nov.)