What the Critics are Saying
"You quickly feel this story evolving into a gut-wrenching probe of the psyche. The innerworkings of the devious mind are stripped bare for all to see. Six Hours Past Thursday starts out fast, speeds up, and by the time you get to the last five chapters you feel like you're driving in the Indianapolis 500. It's quite a ride."
Lane Stevenson, The Barclay Group
"With shades of early twentieth century American classsic Figzgerald's "The Great Gatsby", this novel has every chance of finding a place alongside such classics "
Bowker's BookWire Review & Books In Print
"Death of a Salesman" character Willy Lohman has nothing on Jack Payne's loathsome, womanizing, dirty-dealing protagonist Steve Draves."
"Mr. Payne's literary talent is immediately impressive."
Thriller Book Explores Little-Known World of "Legal" Crime
Respected family man. Successful business broker. Enough? Not for Steve Draves, outwardly a solid citizen, happily married, father of twin sons.
A moral life in the suburbs serves only as "cover" for this con man, as his story unfolds in rapid-fire, legal thriller fashion. Though he has the best of intentions--to rein-in his con artists' activities--he is slow to respond to his own desires. Like the compulsive gambler constantly saying, "I bet you I can quit gambling," Draves, nonetheless, forges ever-onward in his quest to amass a fortune.
Blueprint for Con Men
His high-risk exploits include stock tips that do not add up, the sale of prime development property through a "Straw Man,"a highly-profitable stock sale in a mining company about to go bankrupt, and the generation of eight separate fees for himself from the sale of a shoe manufacturing company. These, among his many legal scams.
All of the con artists' tools are skillfully used: under-the-table deals, kickbacks, now-you-see-it-now-you-don't escrow accounts, others. Draves manages to keep his various deals, technically, "legal."
A possible impediment to Draves' wealth-building dreams is his lust for women, a character flaw that begets a prodigious prurience which knows no bounds He feels such conquests can easily be accommodated as "asides, " easily taken in stride. All women are scrutinized, considered. Tall. Short. Old. Young. All qualify, as long as they meet his standards: they must be voluptuous--and drop-dead beautiful He pursues a series of delightful interludes, all the while inspired, overall, by his money-grubbing passion: "the big score."
His secretary, Deby Collinger, restaurant hostess, Sandy Serell, and fashion model, Tina Landon, make up the prime objects of his lecherous pursuits. Chester Carlin, an entrepreneur of considerable wealth, and rapacious billionaire, Johnny Patiense, old-school crime kingpin, are the primary, "stepping-stone" tools Draves uses to forge his own fortune.
Although he is able to keep his wife, Betty, from learning anything at all about his variety of extra-curricular activities, his well-ordered lifestyle inevitably slips gears. It manifests overconfidence, miscalculation, grievous error. This, in turn, leads to domino-effect, from-all-sides, conflict. Storm clouds form. Induction of the mobster into this cortex looms large. Draves is shaken, takes pause, as one would before licking a steak knife.
Intermixture of Fraud, Passion, Ruthlessness
It's after this scam artist allies with Patiense that things go from bad to worse to worse yet. Their ambitious joint venture, a gambling-Mecca island development off the coast of Florida, comes unglued. Draves' fate is compounded when he unwittingly gets involved with Patiense' daughter, Nina, despite the mobster's warning that his daughter is "off limits" He finds his Utopian, well-managed life collapsing all around him--propelling him into a maelstrom of self-doubts, introspection, nerve-wracking stress. He learns real fear: the kind you get when you wake up screaming and realize you haven't even fallen asleep yet.
While Nina Patiense stalks Draves in a series of amorous pursuits, her father's "Enforcer" stalks him with a very different motive.
His devious con man mind furiously turning, Draves weaves a web of decep;tion supported by tenuous threads of lies and deceit to escape his self-made trap. Along with the mobster's daughter, Nina, and his wife, Betty, all of the female objects of his desires become involved, Deby ,Sandy,Tina, as does his lifelong friend, Mark Brightly, a disgruntled advertising agency account executive. Even innocent bystander, Chester Carlin, gets embroiled in the mix. As the walls keep tumbling down around Draves they threaten to bury all that he cherishes most, his tightly sheltered private life. Even his very life itself.
Resolution of this legal thriller comes to depend upon a fateful decision, made under the most dire of circumstances. With stunning consequences for all concerned.