Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tribulations of the Short Cut Man-P.G. Sturges

Tribulations of the Short Cut Man

P.G. Sturges

Scribner, Feb 7 2012, $24.00

ISBN: 9781439194218

Thirtyish pole dancer Pussy Grace wonders why her boyfriend, wealthy septuagenarian Art Lewis cut her off without telling her; he refuses to accept her attempts to communicate with him. Pussy asks her former boyfriend Dick Henry to help her. Although he prefers to stay out of a domestic dispute as he works a similar case for a paying client, former Judge Harry Glidden turned TV celebrity commissioned a forged painting to give to his Honor’s acrimonious ex-wife.

Dick agrees to help her with her quest. He believes in taking the shortest route to a goal even though his paths often are illegal. This time The Shortcut Man and Puss dress up as gas company employees allegedly investigating a leak. This gains them entry to Lewis’ mansion, but they flee the scene when they find the murdered corpse of Art. Dick expects the LAPD cops to arrest him and Puss, but instead the news broadcasts that Art Lewis married and is on his honeymoon. Realizing Glidden and his girlfriend are pulling a scam to steal Lewis’ millions, Dick decides to intervene.

The super second Shortcut Man noir is a wild jocular ride into the sleaziest sections of Los Angeles; not all of the neighborhoods are in the Hood. Putting aside plausibility, P.G. Sturges provides a wonderful madcap thriller starring a hard boiled individual who plays all the angles including breaking the law (what’s a misdemeanor amongst friends) as he understands the shortest distance between two points is not necessarily a straight line as linearity can be deadly. Dick makes the tale work with his un-Sullivan like travels through the meanest streets of L.A.

Harriet Klausner

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