How the Hula Girl Sings
Paperback reissue of the second novel from the author of the indie-hit Hairstyles of the Damned
Luce Lemay returns to his hometown in Illinois after serving time for accidentally running down a young mother’s infant daughter, but hope turns to tragedy in Meno’s (Tender as Hellfire) moving second novel. Lemay is a poetic ex-con who often waxes lyrical about his remorse for his crime as well as the tragic character flaws of his equally romantic best friend from the joint, a troubled giant named Junior Breen. Lemay is also a hard worker who wants to make good, though, and events take a positive turn when he gets a job at a local gas station and meets beautiful young Charlene Dulaire, a waitress at a diner. Their romance sours when Dulaire’s ex-fianc?, a brute named Earl Peet, attacks Lemay and threatens to run him out of town. Meno pens some wonderful scenes of courtship and setbacks in the course of love, and he also does some nice work bringing Breen to life and exploring his friendship with Lemay. The tragic confrontation between convicts and townies is somewhat predictable, but Meno gets considerable mileage from the give and take among Lemay’s elderly boss and the two young ex-cons as they care for one another and try to overcome their earlier mistakes. Meno has a poet’s feel for small-town details, life in the joint and the trials an ex-con faces, and he’s a natural storyteller with a talent for characterization. The novel has some mawkish moments and certainly many disturbing ones, but overall it’s a likable winner that should bolster Meno’s reputation. National advertising; Midwest author appearances. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.