It gets better (worse?) - after the coffee (and not much talk btw), he finds himself on the couch, unable to sleep because his victim's terrified silent screams haunt him. Sure enough, his gal Fran is there to console him, and soon one thing leads to another but only to abruptly stop:Suddenly all emotion drained out of him. Passion and gratitude, fear and anger were all gone, leaving only a great weariness. "I'm sorry, Fran," he heard himself mumble, as though from a long way off.
Just before sleep came, he found words again.
"You're a hell of a lot of woman," he said.
Tough? Not in my book, you are not Stevie boy. And I hate to tell you this, but you also overcomplicate even the simplest things. Like buying a car, for example:
"Sounds like a fast way to shop."
"It is, and it saves a lot of cab fare and conversation. When I find what I want, then we'll stop and deal."
They followed the program Steve had outlined. It took about two hours and a considerable portion of man-and-undecided-wife dialogue before they left the seventh lot in a powerful sedan. It was Sylvia's calculated indecision which resulted in the price of the car coming down to a reasonable level.
Seven used cars lots in two hours!?
Unfortunately, the criminals are also way too imaginative. The name of the game in this one is cocaine, and the smugglers pack the drugs wrapped around with ping pong balls and then dump them close to the shore, where they get collected by the skin diver. In shark-infested waters, I may add. Huh? Why not simply hand them over to the guy and have a beer or two? You can still use the trick with dumping drugs into the water, but only as a failsafe if you get raided by the cops. It's not exactly rocket science, and we have all seen Leone's Once Upon a Time in America, haven't we?
So it's not surprising that it runs for over 170 pages. But on the other hand, it's surprising that it runs for only 170 pages. It would have been twice as long if it weren't for some incredible coincidences and implausible story development. Without going too much into details (life's too short), I'll only mention that upon arriving in L.A., our Steve knows four people living in this megacity and half of them turn out to be the leaders of the mighty "syndicate"...
It may sound crazy enough to be funny, but it's not. It's just bad. Dull, unlikable characters trapped together with the reader in the plot that makes little sense. It doesn't even feel like some hastily put together yarn to pay the rent money. Instead, I had a feeling that the author put considerable effort into it. But it simply doesn't work.
But let us finish this on a positive note. I'll let you in on the secret about how can you tell whether your kids are addicted to pot.
"He has no sense of time - doesn't remember the passage of time or the sequence of things that happened. With marijuana, that's the surest sign. If he were on anything stronger he wouldn't have the drunken appearance, either."