Phoef Sutton’s Thriller, ‘Crush,’ Takes a Criminally Entertaining Cruise Around L.A.

PAULA L. WOODS, Los Angeles Times


Crime writing is not easy, as Raymond Chandler noted some 60 years ago when reflecting on his early days writing pulp fiction: “[T]he demand was for constant action and if you stopped to think you were lost. When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand.”

Phoef Sutton certainly knows the demands of the genre. A film and television writer (“Cheers,” “Terriers”) who has lately penned crime novels with Lee Goldberg and Janet Evanovich, Sutton goes it alone in “Crush,” the first of what appears to be a series.

The title is the nickname of Caleb Rush, who is first observed by 18-year-old Amelia Trask from a safe distance: “Cold eyes and muscles, he was standing … like a piece of furniture. Only larger … his hands looked like they could squeeze the air out of her windpipe in a second.”

The formidable Rush is a bouncer at the Nocturne, a Hollywood nightclub where his friend Catherine Gail is a bartender-slash-tae kwon do master. It soon becomes clear that Rush’s “slash” includes bodyguard and all-around protector of women: In one night he stops a fight over one woman, then thwarts a group of would-be date rapists of another. But that’s nothing compared with the butt-kicking he must do when a black Lamborghini roars up to the Nocturne out of nowhere, its skeleton-tatted driver and his Russian henchmen intent on snatching Amelia off the street.

Rush’s subsequent entanglement in Amelia’s life and welfare reconnects him to “filthy rich, arrogant” Stanley Trask, president and CEO of GlobalInterLink, “who a whole lot of people probably wanted dead.” Rush had made that assessment some seven years before when he worked on a security detail protecting Trask that went terribly wrong. Now Amelia is Rush’s client, and she needs his protection from the Russian mafia and his help in finding Tony Guzman, Rush’s friend and colleague who worked the elder Trask’s security detail. Read Rest of Article Here


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