In Drawing Dead, Pete Hautman's high-velocity fiction debut, all hell breaks loose. The central scam in this funny tale of inept grifters involves a suitably goofy commodity: vintage comic books. A pair of swindlers have been peddling fake collectibles in Chicago and Minneapolis, and might have made a pile of money if they hadn't enraged a nasty hustler called Joey Cadillac. They should also have stayed away from the racetrack and a gal named Catfish, who rubs Tabasco on her lips for that dangerous bee-stung look. Her doleful husband makes a lot more trouble than the comic duo expected, and no one could have predicted the gutsy scheming of Joe Crow, an inscrutable ex-cokehead and ex-cop, and his leathered and chain-draped sidekick, Laura Debrowski. Hautman has us reading as fast as we can, intent on the fate of his mettlesome, conniving, and hilarious characters.