THE FROG KING by Frank McConnell


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Here, softhearted, hard-drinking Chicago based p.i. Harry Garnish, who works for ex-nun Bridget O'Toole (Bloodlake, etc.), is called to California, where Bridget is visiting Kim Molloy--once a novice at her old convent, now about to marry divorced realtor David Pescatore. David's teen-aged daughter Jennifer, whose custody he was granted, has disappeared. He thinks she's been kidnapped by his ex-wife, porno movie queen Carla Bolero, but, for obscure reasons, hasn't confided his suspicions to Santa Barbara's police lieutenant John Carroll. Harry's arrival on the scene is marked by a setup in which he's shot at and eventually jailed on drank and disorderly charges. In the drunk tank, he finds a buddy--biker Arcadio Molina--whose moral sensibilities and scabrous vocabulary match his own. Once sprung, Harry and his new friend set about tracking down Carla. They turn up some odd and interesting characters but are getting nowhere in their search when Jennifer suddenly reappears, seemingly unharmed. As usual, it's Bridget who puts together the bits and pieces, finding answers to Carla's disappearance and to what's going on here. Readers not put off by Harry's nonstop use of his self-proclaimed favorite word will find a fast-moving, colorful, sometimes funny story weakened, unfortunately, by a plot that's never convincing and often incoherent. Par for McConnell.

Pub Date: July 27th, 1990
Publisher: Walker