Are there any U.S. detective plots these days that don't involve a teenage runaway who's tracked down via a porno picture?...

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CINDERELLA AFTER MIDNIGHT

Are there any U.S. detective plots these days that don't involve a teenage runaway who's tracked down via a porno picture? There've been a half-dozen variations on that theme in the past year or so--and here it is again in cast. #2 for San Francisco freelancer Mike Brennen (Cocaine and Blue Eyes, 1978). Gorgeous, evasive Heather Beaumont hires Mike to find daughter Julie--but before he can get going on his sleuthing (brothels, porn-shops, etc.), it appears that Julie's more than just another runaway: mother Heather is in fact a high-type hooker, former mistress of the late, great politico Joe Cardine; Julie may be Cardine's daughter; and Cardine's official daughter, now a U.S. senator, is being blackmailed about this skeleton in her closet. So, as Mike traces kidnapped Julie (finding several dead bodies, including Julie's lesbian lover and Heather), the Powers That Be--like super-tycoon S. D. Wyant--are hounding him with threats, bribes, and shoot-outs. . . . A long haul, with few surprises; and though Zackel has toned down the pretentiousness that marred his debut, he still allows narrator Mike (who has problems with his shamus-girlfriend) lots of hollow self-pity: ""There's less of me every day. . . ."" Still--the S. F. low-life is properly raunchy, the dialogue crackles in the Macdonald mode, and un-sweetly nice Sen. Cardine is an engaging character. Overextended but acceptable goods for the downbeat, hard-boiled readership.

Pub Date: Aug. 20, 1980

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1980