THE AGENT by George V. Higgins


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A shapeless tale of chicanery and murder in which a super sports-agent is the ostensible victim. The real victim, though, is the story itself--talked to death. Nobody, it seems, loved agent Alex Drouhin. Not the jocks he converted into fat cats. Not the lordly team owners who resented his lack of deference as well as his go-for-the-jugular negotiating style. Not even the colleagues he made rich as he built his sports agency into a financial powerhouse. So when Drouhin is found shot to death in his suburban Boston mansion, Detective Inspector Frank Clay has suspects aplenty. Follow the money, decides Clay, launching his investigation. Who among the disenchanted would benefit most from a deceased Drouhin? Peter Martigneau, former cop, now Drouhin's chief of security? FD Whitman, former football star, now Drouhin's right-hand man? In Clay's view, both are closet malcontents, unhappy with their pie share, convinced it would grow dramatically in a Drouhin-less agency. But both have iron-clad alibis--and so do virtually all on the Drouhin enemies list, as Clay learns during a series of interrogations. These are terminally inconsequential interrogations, unless a reader is starved for detail about the ins and outs, the tricks and trials, of postmodern sports agentry. With his investigation apparently stymied, Clay then makes a cognitive leap: if all those with motives have iron-clad alibis, it must follow that the trigger person was hired. What follows from that inference is one of the more perfunctory denouements in recent crime fiction. Barely confronted, the trigger person tamely and conveniently confesses all. Over the course of 29 novels (A Change of Gravity, 1997, etc.), Higgins has been heaped with praise for the quality of his dialogue. Audiences, though, no matter how well disposed, will eventually tire of a one-trick pony.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1999
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Harcourt Brace