Picks and Pans Review: Train

updated 11/03/2003 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/03/2003 01:00AM

by Pete Dexter

[STARS 4]

There's more danger than you might think on the golf courses of L.A., at least in 1953. That's where Lionel "Train" Walk caddies for wealthy cop Miller Packard. Spotting talent in his black caddy, Packard uses Train to humiliate his cheating racist partner, then persuades the caddy to join him in some golf-course hustles. On the fairway and off, both men flirt with disaster. Train works haplessly to get ahead; Packard marries the widow of a murder victim, then watches her fall apart. Rich in imagery and with language as taut as a scar-faced sneer, Dexter's superb noir novel charts the way reality slips in to put the kibosh on life's fizzy dreams.

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