Six Hours Past Thursday by Jack Payne
This is the story of Steve Draves a shady businessman who constantly skirts the law lying, misrepresenting, and finagling people out of their money in crooked real estate and business brokerage deals.
Draves is used to show the many different ways that a businessman can fleece their customers. He does everything from selling worthless property at high prices, double and triple billing, sending bills for unordered items to using middlemen to sell property to unwanted developers.
Jack Payne the author likes to expose the many different ways people can be ripped off legally. The main character, Steve Draves personal story starts with leaded marbles, card sharping, then selling numbers in college, to crooked salesmanship, and finally to crooked real estate brokerage. Steve Draves seems to worship getting ahead in the world.
Draves has many bad habits which ultimately bring his downfall. Although he is married to a beautiful woman, has a nice house, and two children he can never be satisfied.
He constantly chases women who he sees little more than sex objects. There is an irony in him describing women in the terms of sex objects. He never succeeds in getting any of them in bed because he treats them badly. Ironically, when a woman flings herself at him, he runs away trying to protect his marriage.
Steve Draves is one of the six martini after work crowd at a dive bar. He never stops looking for a deal.
Drave ultimately breaks his own rules and ends up on the wrong side of the mob after he tries to sell an island off the coast of Florida to a mobster. The mob boss considers him completely untrustworthy and crooked.
Even though Drave's finally succeeds financially he comes to a bad end. This is a morality tale about corruption of the soul and pocketbook. At times, Steve Draves, the main character, expresses some very sexist corrupt ideas. This may bother some people.
The descriptions of corruption, crooked dealing, and chicanery are the best part of the book. Little details like running an audio tape of a typing pool as background noise for Drave's office are very interesting.
The book begins in 1966 and ends in 1968. The social mores and setting are very different than the ones we have today. In a way, this book is an ode to an era that has long since passed. The three martini lunch is a thing of the past as well as many of the things expressed in this book.
I liked reading the book. It was a very solid story. It will not be for everyone. Some people may find it too sexist, or find the style of writing a little flat. If you want to learn a little bit about crooked business deals this is also a good read.
Jack Payne has a site which gives the first three chapters away for free. http://www.sixhrs.com/ . I spent a little bit of time looking at Worldcat. I think his most famous book is How To Make A Fortune In Finders Fees. He is a regular contributor to the forums on Blogcatalog. He comes across as an old fashioned, conservative with a bit of a maverick streak.