FREEMARTIN by David Keith Cohler


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Sam Knight of the NYPD Special Operations Squad (Gamemaker, 1980) seems to specialize in psycho mass-murderers; here it's a maniac transsexual (we get her/his life story in interpolated italicized tidbits) who murders women, mutilating breasts and genitalia. And since the latest victim is the daughter of a major campaign contributor, the pressure is really on to find the killer. So Knight, with his talky Squad and abrasire Lieut. Valery Fogarty, hashes the evidence at great length, arrests the wrong man, and gets his big clue when the lack of semen in all the cases suggests impotence . . . and then a female-to-male transsexual. Some moderately interesting legwork thus ensues, leading up to a grotesque, violent finale in a meat-packing freezer. Cohler can write strong, decent dialogue and effective action scenes. Unfortunately, here, as in Gamemaker, the proceedings are grossly padded (about 100 pp. worth), the pace is slow, the dubious psychopathology is crudely sensationalized, and the primary appeal would seem to be to those readers with enormous curiosity about transsexual anatomy and lifestyle.

Pub Date: Oct. 29th, 1981
Publisher: Little, Brown