Montalbano, William

Powder burn by Carl Hiaasen
Powder Burn (1981) with Carl Hiaasen
Architect Chris Meadows has the bad luck to see an old girlfriend get hit by a car full of drugland hitmen. He has the worse luck to see the face of her murderers. Because in a town as violent as Miami, a witness doesn't stand a chance--especially when the cops who ought to be protecting him are more interested in dangling him as live bait.
Trap Line by Carl Hiaasen
Trap Line (1982) with Carl Hiaasen
When somebody sabotages the trap lines of Key West crawfisherman Breeze Albury, poor Breeze - middle-aged, devoted to son Ricky (a promising baseball player), happy with girlfriend Laurie - is once again forced to do a job for the drug-business "Machine": with helper Jimmy (who needs cash for his young wife's abortion), Breeze agrees to do a single drug-run with his 43-foot boat, the Diamond Cutter. The mission turns out to be a set-up, however - and Breeze winds up in jail. Why did the Machine arrange for their own drug-run to be spotted by the law? Because they want to force Breeze to undertake a far more dangerous run: they'll get him out of jail . . . if he'll bring 20 illegal Colombian refugees in from a "stash island" off Andros. (The Machine owes some Colombian dealer a big favor.) So off goes Breeze, with Jimmy and Cuban pal Augie, and, not unexpectedly, the trip turns into a nightmare: the Colombians are ruthless, desperate, superstitious; there are deaths during the turbulent boarding and the chaotic voyage; the eventual landing is a bloody disaster - with only half of the expected refugees arriving. Thus, the Machine must now kill Breeze . . . who is ready to fight back - by hijacking a huge load of the Machine's drugs; son Ricky will get his pitching arm broken by a Machine underling; Breeze will take the final revenge. And meanwhile, back on shore, Breeze's girlfriend Laurie is getting involved in local politics - befriending (and eventually bedding) a gay-fights activist, helping him to take revenge on a bigoted sheriff. This subplot - and another one about the evil doings of a local lawyer - are only half-successfully interwoven with the central, visceral plot here (a few too many coincidences and sudden romances are needed to tie up all the threads). But the at-sea action is gritty and varied, Breeze is a modestly engaging beleaguered-hero, and this is sturdy melodrama entertainment overall from the authors of last year's Powder Burn. (Kirkus Reviews)

A Death in China by Carl Hiaasen
Death in China (1984) with Carl Hiaasen
An American investigating his mentor's murder finds himself ensnared in a web of lies and treachery in China, where even tomorrow's weather is a state secret. From a nightmarish interrogation to assassination by cobra, A Death in China takes readers on a trip with no rest stops through a world of claustrophobic mistrust and terrifying danger.

William D Montalbano

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