KILLING CRITICS by Carol O’Connell


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 The murder of artist Dean Starr, an inoffensive mediocrity stabbed at a reception at Avril Koozeman's trendy gallery, would be no big deal to anyone--other than fans of the more outrÇ varieties of performance art (the body, labeled with a card reading ``DEAD,'' fools dozens of visitors before a jaundiced rent-a-cop realizes how accurate the label is)--if the performance-art angle, coupled with a much more explicit clue, didn't point the finger at an unsolved 12-year-old case. Back in the glory days of Inspector Louis Markowitz, up-and-coming artist Peter Ariel and ballet hopeful Aubry Gilette had been hacked to death with an axe and their bodies scrambled together in an even more ghoulish aesthetic exercise. Markowitz is dead now, but his adopted daughter, Sgt. Kathy Mallory, is determined to reopen the case, and nothing--not the intransigence of art critic J.L. Quinn; or the antics of columnist Andrew Bliss, who camps out on Bloomingdale's roof with a bullhorn as a fashion-advisor terrorist; or the pretensions of critic-turned-Public Works Committee head Emma Sue Hollaran, liposucked within an inch of her life; or the opposition of her corrupt boss, Chief Harry Blakely--is going to stop her. Mallory displays such diverse skills--the former street kid is a computer genius who dominates press conferences, never sleeps, dresses in a trice, and offers to deck an aging ballet teacher--that she's in danger of becoming a Wild Child paragon. But it's hard to resist a third case (The Man Who Cast Two Shadows, 1995, etc.) that's as blazingly original as her first two. (First printing of 50,000; $50,000 ad/promo; author tour)

Pub Date: June 18th, 1996
ISBN: 0-399-14168-5
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1996


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