The odd thing about Walter Schoen, German born but now running a butcher shop in Detroit, is that he's a dead ringer for Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS and the Gestapo. Honey Deal, Walter's American wife, doesn't know that Walter is a member of a spy ring and gives shelter to escaped German POWs. But she's tired of telling him jokes he doesn't understand; it's time for a divorce. Along comes Carl Webster, the Hot Kid of the Marshals Service. He's looking for Jurgen Schrenk. Carl's pretty sure Walter's involved with keeping Schrenk hidden, so he gets to know Honey, hoping she'll lead him to Walter. Honey likes the hot kid marshal and doesn't much care that he's married. But all Carl wants is to get Jurgen without getting shot. Next, Carl meets Vera Mezwa, the Ukrainian head of the spy ring, and her lover Bohdan, who has a sly way of killing. And then there's Otto, the Waffen-SS major who runs away with a nice Jewish girl. It's Elmore Leonard's world: gritty, funny, and full of surprises.More
Arliss Howard demonstrated his mastery of rural American voices in Elmore Leonard's The Hot Kid, in which he first breathed life into the character of Deputy U.S. Marshal Carl Webster. Now, in this adventure - a sequel of sorts - Howard expands on that performance as he voices Nazi POWs, a Ukrainian femme fatale, a cross-dressing hit man, and one of the most carnal Elmore Leonard characters, the lovely Honey Deal. Though the plot sounds like pulp fiction - a lawman tracks POWs and spy rings in 1945 Detroit - the novel is much more. It's a strange, often absurd history lesson that ultimately hinges on whether Carl will honor his marriage vows to his machine-gun-toting spouse . . . or succumb to Honey's charms.
"This being a Leonard novel, the dialogue flows as fast and as smooth as any words ever uttered in service of a story. It's as if the best of Mel Brooks and Quentin Tarantino were refined into something altogether finer and purer. And, in Honey Deal, Leonard has created yet another of his smart, ballsy, sexy, take-no-prisoners females. If there is a little more slapstick and a little less crime here than usual, it hardly matters. The talk's the thing. Leonard hooks you with his first quotation mark." (Booklist)
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- Richard A. Bamberg