The DNA of Ross Thomas’ novels contains unpredictability, witty urbane dialogue, inventive plotting, intricate double (and triple) dealing and a rogue’s gallery of quirky characters.
“Cast a Yellow Shadow” (1967) is the second in his Mac and Padillo series featuring two guys who just want to operate a nice bar and grill after WWII.
Nevertheless, the saloon keepers are caught up in political skullduggery because of Padillo’s enforced activities for the CIA.
Mac’s wife has been kidnapped to ensure that Padillo will assassinate a South African prime minister.
The other side is offering cash for Padillo not to pull the trigger.
For a couple of old soldiers of fortune, this mess should be no problem---except that whether Padillo does the shooting or not, Mac’s wife is going to die.
Padillo enlists the aid of a trio of foreign double agents he has tuned and Mac gets some helpers from the local criminal element.
The scheme is hatched to free Mac’s wife and the chase is on as clever devious people try to outfox one another. Who will pull the double cross, who will stay loyal?
Like crossword puzzle fans, readers will delight at how neatly all the pieces fit.
Ross Thomas: always surprising, always entertaining!