A CONCERT OF GHOSTS by Campbell Armstrong


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A burnt-out hippie with a major memory-lapse tries to get his head back together, having forgotten that what you don't know can't hurt you, in a rather rambling conspiracy thriller by the author of Mambo (1990), White Light (1988), etc. Harry Tennant's affectless existence as a marijuana farmer in upstate New York ends violently when he's raided by forces of the politically ambitious local sheriff. His rights trampled as badly as his pot plants, Harry is hopeless until he's visited by a mysterious lawyer--who tells him that all will be well but then promptly disappears. Sprung at last by a tame public-defender, Harry hooks up with the lovely young Alison Seagrove, who says she's a reporter and that Harry is her story. She's tracking down the five hippies in a most famous photograph of the late Sixties to see what became of them. Even though Harry recognizes himself in the picture, he hasn't the faintest memory of it or of his companions, a couple of whom are already dead. As a matter of fact, he doesn't remember anything at all from 1968 (the date of the photo) to 1981, when he put down cannabis roots on his little farm. His right-wing superlawyer father could probably fill him in, but Harry won't have a thing to do with the man. Harry and Alison head for city, where Alison has a lead on another of the photo subjects--and where the two begin falling over corpses and dodging assassins. They begin a cross-country flight, visiting the photographer who's now in a sanatarium that Harry finds uncomfortably familiar, and wind up in San Francisco, where Harry's dad turns up, where it all started--and where Everything Is Revealed. Loses steam after a nicely menacing beginning. The revelations are too obvious too soon, and the underpinning conspiracy is tiresome.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1993
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: HarperCollins