Picks and Pans Review: Cheap Shot

UPDATED 09/10/1984 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 09/10/1984 at 01:00 AM EDT

by Jay Cronley

Finch and Trout, the simple-minded protagonists of this novel, decide to steal a lot of artworks from a New York museum with a hideously complicated plan that includes kidnapping a whole New York police precinct. The police are even more dim-witted than the crooks—the cops are terrified of violence. The museum guards are inept too, and an outrageously henpecked police commissioner who wants to run for Governor is determined to make political hay out of the law-enforcement disaster. There is enough plot here for a whole season of a TV sitcom, but Cronley's strongest talent is his dialogue, conversations that constantly go askew. At one point the crooks run into a watchdog named Henry, who doesn't bark at them. "Henry is a person's name," Finch says. "No wonder he's not all there." His henchman, Roebuck, says not necessarily, there was a chicken hawk named Henry in a comic book he'd read once. Anyway Henry turns out to be a great watchdog; when he gets quiet, his owner knows something is wrong. The special humor—zany, intricate and unflagging—owes something to Damon Runyon, but Cronley, a newspaper columnist and novelist who lives in Tulsa, has his own pace, an original zip just right for the 1980s. (Atheneum, $13.95)

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

Advertisement

From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners



Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters