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The Last Act

Dutton. Mar. 2019. 384p. ISBN 9781524743536. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781524743550. THRILLER
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OrangeReviewStarMulti-award-winning Parks (Closer Than You Know) returns with a stand-alone about Tommy Jump, once a child star, now an over-the-hill musical theater actor at 27. He's contemplating the end of his career when he's offered the role of a lifetime. A childhood friend, now an FBI agent, wants him to impersonate a convict in a minimum-security prison and to buddy up to a man responsible for laundering money for a Latin American drug cartel, with the hope he'll reveal the location of incriminating documents detailing the cartel leader's activities. Tommy, with an artist girlfriend and a baby on the way, agrees, unaware that the cartel has their own men inside. Once Tommy is behind bars under an assumed name, he's on his own, and must navigate the prison system using the charm and acting abilities that once made him the toast of Broadway.
VERDICT This novel packs on the suspenseful surprises and plot reversals that made Parks a mainstay on the best-seller lists, but it's not just gritty and dark. With a lighter approach, Parks focuses on enduring characters and sharp wordplay, perfect for those who like their thrillers witty rather than bloody. Even if they aren't fans of Broadway musicals, readers will want to seek out this one. [See Prepub Alert, 9/17/18.]

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