‘Shortcut Man’ is full of suspense

Last Updated: Feb 02, 2011, 12:36 PM IST

London: Dick Henry is the guy people mean when they say, "I know a guy." He gets hired to take care of things that would otherwise be tangled in bureaucratic or legal red tape. He`s the "shortcut man." And he gets paid very well.

In PG Sturges’ ‘Shortcut Man,’ readers are introduced to Henry as he forcibly evicts a delinquent tenant who refuses to leave his apartment, a violent job that he follows up by championing an elderly woman who`s been ripped off by a disreputable contractor.

When Henry is asked by multimillionaire porn producer Art Benjamin to shadow his wife and confirm she`s unfaithful, it seems like an easy task and easy money, until Henry realizes the woman he`s been hired to track is the woman he`s been sleeping with.

This series debut by Sturges, son of writer-director Preston Sturges, sets up the promise of a classic noir story with all the familiar elements: the slightly amoral hard-boiled hero, the femme fatale and the menacing goons, all set against the sultry, seamy backdrop of Los Angeles.

And Sturges pays off on all these promises, with interest. The action doesn`t so much unfold as it careens down perilously twisty roads as Henry learns he must end his affair with the woman he didn`t know was married, and find someone to take the fall for him.

‘Shortcut Man’ is a glorious read: powerful, clever, suspenseful and filled with enough dark humor and shady characters to satisfy the most rabid noir fan, and convert those who aren`t already.

Bureau Report

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