THREE WITH A BULLET by Arthur Lyons
Kirkus Star

THREE WITH A BULLET

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Ugly but effective: Jake Asch, an L.A. shamus who's almost always working in some nasty milieu (Dead Ringer, Castles Burning, etc.), now mingles with the lowest of the low--the glittery, sleazy denizens of the rock-music biz. Jake's client is top concert-promoter Fred Segal, who suspects that someone is trying to sabotage his business--with increasingly serious pranks. Then comes the foulest prank of all: someone replaces the cocaine at Fred's big party with pure heroin, making several guests direly ill; and one of them, pathetic has-been superstar Phil Cooney, turns up dead a few hours later. (""The best career move he made in the last three years,"" says one foul rock-biz type.) Next, Segal's secretary dies--via bathtub electrocution. Suicide? Was she the saboteur, guilt-stricken over the fatal results of her prank? Or are these murders somehow connected to a counterfeit-records seam? And what about the ""coincidental"" suicide of one of the. late Phil Cooney's many teenage sex-and-drugs playmates? Lyons keeps all these subplots circling nicely, without the murkiness that usually afflicts such tangles. There's a satisfying series of revelation/showdowns--with just about everyone guilty of something. And Jake's narration views the detailed, sordid scene (just slightly exaggerated, perhaps) with precisely the right mixture of deadpan drollery and true disgust--making this the best Asch outing in quite some time.

Pub Date: Jan. 15th, 1984
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston