Laurence Shames

"Tropical Depression"

(Reviewed by Judi Clark JAN 30, 2000)

Tropical Depression by Laurence Shames

Oy! It's January and bitterly cold up here in the Northeast. Perfect time to settle into a slapstick caper novel that takes place in Key West. And that, in a nutshell, describes Laurence Shames's style of writing.

Murray Zemmelman, the famous lingerie mogul, otherwise known as the Bra King, sits in his garage in his running Lexus trying to decide if he's going to work or committing suicide. Suddenly he's got a strong will to live, so much so that he can't even wait for the garage door to completely open before driving out. Then it's nonstop driving until Key West. Popping prozac like its antacid, he calls up his second wife to let her know she can have the house, his company to say he's stepping out and his shrink to get another prescription. He feels like he's finally doing the right thing and now it's time to try to get back his first wife, and he believes he knows how to impress her. Meanwhile he's also found himself a new project. He wants to help Tommy Tarpon, a bitter Native American, who makes his living selling sea shells near the most-southern-point, to become a sovereign nation. Tommy happens to be the only one left of his tribe, so Murray talks him into letting him do the paperwork. And then maybe the two of them can go into business together with a gambling casino.

Of course, these two amateurs have no idea that the gambling business is solely owned by the Mafia in Miami who has been paying a crooked politician lots of money to get an angle on the Florida Keys. And this Matalatchee Indian, Tommy Tarpon, looks to be the key to the whole business. Zemmelman has no idea what trouble will precipitate when the petition passes without a bit of opposition from the local government. But the celebration is hardly over before Zemmelman finds that he has inadvertently endangered the the lives of himself, his new friend and his ex-wife.

  • Amazon reader rating: from 9 reviews


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About the Author:

Laurence ShamesLaurence Shames was born in Newark in 1952 and grew up in Colonia, New Jersey. He spent one year at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA before transferring to New York University where he received a degree in English in 1972. He lived in New York City for twenty years before he moved to Key West, Florida in 1990.

Besides his Key West comic thrillers, he is the author of the nonfiction Mafia book, Boss of Bosses. With his novel, Sunburn, he won the CWA last Laugh Dagger Award for the funniest crime novel of 1995.

With his wife, Marilyn, Shames now divides his time between homes in Key West and Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

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