The Smack By Richard Lange Mulholland, 368 pages, $34

The Hamilton Spectator - - BOOKS -

Rowan Petty is a lik­able grifter.

His even more lik­able new girl­friend is a Black hooker whose work­ing name is Ti­nafey. Petty, ac­cus­tomed to putting to­gether mod­est scams, gets mixed up in a deal in­volv­ing two mil­lion bucks in Amer­i­can mil­i­tary funds smug­gled out of Afghanistan.

With such a large sum at stake, many more fun­da­men­tally bad guys threaten not just Petty’s chances at the money but his and Ti­nafey’s lives.

What Richard Lange does with this ba­sic ma­te­rial is some­thing ad­mirable.

He’s a writer of clean and easy prose, and he’s strong at struc­tur­ing a nar­ra­tive that builds to­ward an ever tight­en­ing cli­max. “The Smack” adds up to one of the nicer sur­prises of the sea­son.

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