First Books Doug J. Swanson Big Town

ISBN 13: 9780060177492

Big Town

3.6 avg rating
( 25 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780060177492: Big Town

Down-and-out private investigator Jack Flippo falls for a woman at the center of a web of blackmail and murder and finds himself implicated in the very case he has been hired to solve. A first novel.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

An ebullient noir comedy about the mad scramble for escalating shares of a Dallas motivational speaker's off-the-books cash. At the request of the injured wife, cheesy lawyer Hal Roper tabs sometime op Jack Flippo--an ex-assistant D.A. whose life took a sharp turn for the worse after he got seduced by a drug-dealer's wife--to get the goods (glossies, audiotape) on philandering Buddy George, Jr.'s rendezvous with teenaged manicurist Sharronda Simms. An ugly scene in the American Executive Inn (Buddy's not into vanilla sex) exposes Jack to Buddy and Sharronda, but he still succeeds in delivering the tape to the client before he realizes that she isn't really Mrs. George; it'll be much longer before he figures out that she's actually Paula Fontaine, Buddy's assistant at Motivational Enterprises, who's using both him and Sharronda as pawns in a shakedown for $10,000. Buddy, who didn't get where he is by rolling over, tells Paula he's going to kill the blackmailer and promptly hires Roper's ultra-clean, ultra-dumb gofer Teddy Tunstra II for the job. But Paula effortlessly gets Teddy in her corner, promising him $10,000 for killing Jack and Sharronda and planning to bill Buddy for much more. Sharronda runs to Jack, not knowing that he's a sucker for Paula's perfume, and only too ready herself to come out of hiding when the woman who hired her (still Paula, in case you're getting confused) lures her back to the motel, followed closely by her no-account, Percodan-popping boyfriend Delbert, for the payoff. There's more, much more, to come, with each new betrayal upping the ante. The final payoff is inevitably a letdown. Meanwhile, Elmore Leonard fans can rejoice in a newly minted storyteller whose moves are so sure that each new double-cross brings a smile of pure joy--about the only pure emotion in this spirited debut. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

In his fiction debut, newspaper reporter Swanson introduces a retro Dallas PI in a complex blackmail scam that gets out of hand. Jack Flippo, who slept his way (with a drug dealer's wife) out of his job in the DA's office, is reduced to spying for a sleazoid lawyer named Hal. A woman named Paula hires Hal to get the dirt on Buddy George, a smooth-talking motivational speaker with a taste for flesh. Paula sets Buddy up for a hot night with sweet manicurist Sharronda, with Jack in the next room to take pictures. When Buddy gets tough, Jack rescues Sharronda. The ensuing complications, involving Sharronda's boyfriend and Hal's psychotic muscleman, result in murder as well as blackmail and entanglements of the heart: Jack, not known for smart thinking around the fairer sex, falls for Paula, whose greed has jump-started the entire caper. The local color is fairly muted--the tale could be taking place in any city with a hot summer and a motel strip--and the plotting doesn't spring enough surprises to satisfy. Jack, who has lousy sleeping and eating habits, eventually contrives a clever fate for the unjust, but he stays a small-time PI, despite his Big D setting.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Swanson, Doug J.
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ISBN 10: 0060177497 ISBN 13: 9780060177492
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