Review

Trust Me

by Peter Leonard

Being the offspring of an iconic figure is a mixed blessing at
best. You spend half your time explaining who you are and the other
half explaining who you are not. There may be times, late at night,
when Peter Leonard lies awake in bed and contemplates how things
might have been if he was picking away at a guitar instead of a
word processor as a way of bringing home the daily bread. If that
is the case, I hope he does not think too long or too hard about
it. He made the right move, and trust me, his sophomore work
conclusively demonstrates that.

At the end of the day, TRUST ME is built upon a very basic
series of propositions: girl meets boy; girl and boy start seeing
each other (in the Biblical sense); girl gives boy $300,000 to
invest; girl and boy break up; boy keeps money; and girl tries to
get money back. You cannot imagine how much fun this truly is until
you crack open the spine. The girl of the piece is Karen Delaney, a
beautiful and talented young woman whose resume includes work as a
high school drum majorette and professional model and cheerleader,
and whose Achilles’ heel is a talent for picking the worst
man out of any random room full of them. The boy is Samir, a
wealthy Detroit businessman involved in legal high-end markets,
party stores and, oh yeah, illegal bookmaking.

As the novel begins, Delaney has moved on (at least
romantically), engaged (at least officially) to the owner of a
chain of Detroit area restaurants. When two burglars ---one of whom
is a little smarter than the other --- invade the domestic
tranquility of the not-really-happy couple, Delaney has a
proposition for them. As she puts it, she’s not scamming
them; she’s been waiting for them.

But as we soon learn, what Delaney tells them is only half-true.
With an amusing if cold-blooded pragmatism, Delaney begins
utilizing her not-too-shabby looks and various and assorted talents
to get not only her money back but also some considerable vig,
cutting her erstwhile business partners out of the deal. If Delaney
has a tragic flaw, it is that she does not think too far ahead of
herself. But that is also her talent, as her fancy footwork keeps
her a step (well, sometimes a quarter-step) ahead of the bad guys
who pursue her with great aplomb. What they don’t take into
account is Delaney’s cold pragmatism, which holds her in good
stead as she is pursued from one end of Detroit to another, and
beyond.

Leonard works magic in TRUST ME, making Delaney wholly
sympathetic and believable --- this is a guy who knows women to
their core --- even while she is manipulating everyone she
encounters in order to get what is hers. As with any caper novel,
the true test of its worth is the supporting cast of characters,
and this one passes with flying colors --- from the hapless duo who
uneasily partner up with Delaney in the beginning to
Delaney’s mother and sister. Leonard is his own man, and
while he might mine the same mountain as his father, Elmore, he is
fully capable of telling his own stories, and telling them well.
Trust me.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 23, 2011

Trust Me
by Peter Leonard

  • Publication Date: August 31, 2010
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books
  • ISBN-10: 031238954X
  • ISBN-13: 9780312389543