NEL pbk £6.99
Reviewed by Les Hurst
|Is it the last guy, or the almost last guy, in
Twelve Angry Men, who says "Kids - you give them
your life, and what do you get?". Forty years later,
nothing has changed -the day is ending, snow is coming on, it's
New York City, and three former prep school kids are going to
meet for a drink. One of them has already come close to suicide,
the second has developed an unhealthy fixation on one of his
students, while the third has rescued a dog.
Well, Monty rescued the dog sometime before. Today he has taken
the dog for a last walk. The dog gets taken out a lot.
Naturelle, Monty's girlfriend, takes the dog with her when she
goes jogging in Central Park later on, but Monty can't be there
as he is dining with his father. It is going to be late at night
before the three chums can have their get together - Monty has a
lot of things to do and not so much time to do them in.
Back when Monty rescued the dog - in the Prologue, actually -
he had Kostya with him. Russian name? Dodgy. Anything else in
the car? Well, nothing to stop them taking the dog to a
veterinarian's; on the other hand Kostya was not very keen on
being seen stopped at the side of the West Side Highway. No
point in asking the police to stop. And then when he was out
walking the dog today, some scumbag hailed Monty and asked him
for scag, but Monty couldn't oblige. Not wouldn't, couldn't -
Monty has been touched. Monty is in his last twenty-four hours
of freedom - tomorrow morning he has to report to Otisville
penitentiary up the river, or become a fugitive from justice.
As the three friends, pupils, business acquaintances move
through the bleak night, Montgomery Brogan considers how he got
where he is. He was at a good school, which is where he started
dealing - okay, so he was expelled, but he continued to make a
good living, not like his schmuck friend Jakob who became a
teacher. Monty mixed with the stars as he delivered their bags
of snow, and he had been given Kostya to keep his back covered.
How could it go wrong? How could the DEA agents just walk into
his apartment and put their hands on his stash like that?
The one thing Monty has not done is make a deal with the Feds -
he has not squealed. Monty, though, cannot help thinking that a
pretty boy like himself will be squealing a lot after his first
day behind bars - he can imagine the warders withdrawing for the
night and the big cons coming in close.
The twentieth-fifth hour is going to be his first hour in the
pen. Ironically, what Monty has not allowed for, him being a
dealer and all, is the snow. The snow has been falling all
night, and come morning it may have blocked the road to
Otisville. What a question: will the snow make Monty a fugitive?