THE NEON GRAVEYARD by George Baxt

THE NEON GRAVEYARD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Baxt in Hollywood -- without his best series characters (neither Pharoah Love nor Sylvia Plotkin), and with only a tattered remnant of the wicked wit that made some of his 1960s work so nastily agreeable. The detective here suave, sexy undercover Federal agent Norton Valentine, who heads for L.A. when his fellow agent Clay Stopley is pushed off a parapet while investigating a VIP orgy/blackmail ring. Among those at the decadent party where Stopley was last seen: alluring, obviously guilty (of something) hostess Hagar Simon; two slimy gossip columnists; high-price courtesan Karen; and well-preserved movie queen Chloe Jupiter -- a Mae West parody which is mildly funny (""Peel me a kumquat, and bring me muh Proust!"") but no patch on the original. And when courtesan Karen also dies, the pressure to expose the villains mounts, leading to a long shoot-out/confession that reveals Mafia ties and least-likely conspirators. Such formula plotting needs really inspired comedy to lift it above the routine -- and Baxt's repartee here isn't quite up to it (jokes about recent bad movies, etc.). Middling, then, with some okay amusement for Hollywood-watchers to smooth over the creaky sleuthing.

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 1979
Publisher: St. Martin's