Doll Eyes

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Rooster Franklin wants only to get back together with his girlfriend from several years back, Rosalinda. He has “doll eyes” for her, the kind that see none of her faults. When he walks into her old house in Kansas City, hoping to pick up where they left off, he finds a dead girl strapped to the bed. The police arrive while he is still in the house and take him in for questioning.

The police do not let up, even though Rooster was on an airplane at the likeliest time of the murder. Rooster discovers that Rosalinda is alive, but she has married another, richer, man. He persists in believing that he can win her back and that she cannot be happy in her new life with her society husband. As he tries to clear himself of suspicion for the murder, he comes to suspect Rosalinda’s new husband of committing the crime. Along the way, he finds himself under attack by persons unknown and possibly by Rosalinda’s brother, fresh from behind bars and eager to settle a score with Rooster.

Author Randy Russell offers a fast-paced, colorful picture of a grey part of the underworld, filled with criminals who are easy to like. Most of the illegal activities of Rooster and his counterparts are at a low level of violence and in context appear to be justifiable. Assorted thugs and the practically mandatory large, menacing biker—in this case named Bodyguard—do the dirty work. Rooster and his more innocent pals are left to figure out who committed the murder.