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Book Review: Trust Me by Peter Leonard

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High-spirited Trust Me begins in bed. Karen lays two feet away from a male “acquaintance” she has been dating for the past eight months. Although horny, he reaches over to show her the latest, best looking hole in golf on a Whispering Palms resort brochure.

Karen ignores his request for copulation, infinitely more interested in Pardon My French sitcom, sponsored by Levitra. Angry now, he turns his back to her and moves to his side of a king-sized bed complaining that “there were monks who got laid more than he did.”

There was a questionable lack of depth to their relationship from the very beginning of Trust Me. On their first date together, Karen’s new fiancé thought “taking her skeet shooting at the Metamora Gun Club on their first date” was a romantic thing to do.

Within a short period of time, both sleepers awaken to the sound of shattering glass. Karen grabs her gun and so does her now completely flaccid companion. Two robbers disarm them. Voluptuous Karen is ordered into the bedroom, and promptly obeys — almost happily.

Just as quickly, Karen suggests that if the two thieves are interested in real money, they should join in her attempt to make it — take it, actually. If they just trust her fool-proof plan, they will rob her former wealthy boyfriend who owes her at least $300,000. He, of course, is protected by several goons who could be accused of having an IQ somewhere near the lower end of normal.

Even so, the robbers steal a prized diamond ring belonging to her boyfriend. But they are unable to take the money they watched her boyfriend win earlier at a casino. The thieves are told the $9,600 in cash is stashed in a safe in one of her boyfriend’s restaurants. This they apparently believe.

The leader of these thugs is an ex-cop attempting to collect inflated debts owed him. He is particularly interested in an obsessive gambler who, instead of paying him back, gambles away what he owes the ex-cop. The gambler knows the ex is prone to physical punishment and possible death as a last resort.

This foolhardy gambler just happens to be one of the robbers who broke into Karen’s home with the intention of stealing the $9,600 as partial payment to the cop. Now he must stall even longer until he, Lloyd, and Karen are successful with their big heist.

But the ex-cop thinks about his own life. As Karen’s plot stumbles onward, he hopes to divert the $300,000 to his bank account, making retirement from the league of crime, racketeering, and collecting, a very likely possibility.

Of course, Karen’s plot rapidly goes awry. After double crosses, murder, and a variety of twists and turns, Karen ends up with all the money chased by everyone she’s misled. Will she ultimately keep her ill-gotten prize, or will one of the wiser bumbling crooks find a way to take it from her?

This rather clumsy robber mystery, if nothing else, will make you wonder about the aptitude of its characters and their ineptness relating to the underworld. 

 Trust Me moves along at a fast enough clip to keep you interested, but it lacks a sense of reality. I suspect Peter Leonard meant Trust Me to be a true tongue-in-cheek story. Even the murder that occurs to move the story along seems understated.

I would recommend Trust Me to any reader who enjoys comedic tales about shady characters who stumble along, double crossing one another in amusing ways. In some ways it might remind you of the Keystone Cops.

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