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Publishers Weekly, 2001-08-13 Can a man who has existed for years as a passive, unassuming plodder undergo a midlife epiphany and turn into a hard-charging, winner-take-all executive who no longer feels bound by the rules? Mack MacWray, a clothier from Minneapolis and the protagonist of Hautman's snappy new crime comedy, finds such a transition possible, but at a high cost. Mack's business has just gone belly up. Its downfall was Lars Larson, the velvet-tongued partner who absconded with all the company's cash, leaving Mack with debts, lawsuits and shattered confidence. He finds Larson in Mexico and watches, without lending any aid, as his former partner falls off a cliff and dies. The incident chills Mack, yet it also fills him with a strange sense of power: he no longer feels the need to meet any of his responsibilities or obligations. Mack emerges as a shark, pulling his company out of bankruptcy through a rough mix of selfishness, force and charm. He also cheats on his wife, steals when the opportunity arises and resorts to violence when necessary. When he finally realizes what he has become, it's too late for redemption. Enlivening his tale with deadpan humor and crisp dialogue, Hautman (Mr. Was; Drawing Dead) keeps things witty and light, but ultimately confronts the darkness that the plot promises. He draws on his talent for creating characters with quick strokes and scenes that move with lightning (if at times predictable) efficiency, and gives voice to a desire the ability to cast aside societal conventions that many of us secretly harbor, but few have the nerve to fulfill. Agent, Jonathon Lazear, the Lazear Agency. (Oct. 3) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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