HARD TRADE by Arthur Lyons

HARD TRADE

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Lyons has always had trouble matching his great dialogue and seedy scenery with good plots, but this time he seems downright desperate--as he gives L.A. shamus Jake Asch a mystery that turns into a cheap rornan-à-clef of the most specious sort. The beginning is fine: Jake is hired by a ""munchkin""-like heiress to check out her fiancÉ Merle Hoffman, a landfill engineer who is quickly revealed to be a pederast (""chickenhawk""). But then it turns out that the munchkin-lady--soon hit-and-run murdered--was duping Jake: she really wanted to get some blackmail goods on Hoffman because he'd been asking embarrassing questions about government bribes behind some big real-estate landfill projects. So most of this slow-moving novel has Jake digging out evidence of corruption (he's framed for murder and nearly killed). . . before the real coverup is uncovered: the sexual habits of a governor who is blatantly modeled on a real one. Okay action and atmosphere--but fewer laughs than usual and that unpleasant cop-out ending make this the weakest Jake Asch outing yet.

Pub Date: April 23rd, 1981
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston