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The Unprofessionals

An accomplished cynic, Hecht is also deeply gratifying writer. She reaches “dark funny” in a way Dave Barry can’t. Barry is grossly witty, which is fine; Hecht is sneaky bleak. Here’s how she works: “I knew there was crime use in California because I’d seen a TV program about Hollywood and most of the program had to do with this subject. Next came a crime show about the drug use of movie stars. Then one night I noticed that the two shows had been merged into one show called Hollywood Crime.”

The narrator (she’s 49, a photographer) has problems with electrolysis, hypochondria, and the fact that no one can any longer speak clear English. She’s also trying to “coach” a kid out of drug addiction. She’ll fail. Meanwhile, her husband lolls on the fringes. No punches are pulled. No angst untouched. No hypocrisy untormented. She calls 9/11 “the world event that made everyone pretend to love everything about New York.” For her, refurbished houses “look worse in a new way.” Kinky and stark, Hecht is.