More conspiracy-thriller than murder-mystery, and shaky in both departments--as a British security expert investigates the murder of a decadent Soho (NYC) art-dealer and finds himself stalked by ruthless, CIA-linked hit men. Hired by Munich billionaire F.W. Hahn, Sr., 45-ish ex-soldier Slater arrives in Manhattan to learn why Hahn's estranged son Freddy was sniper-shot in his ex-wife's Soho loft. Was it because Freddy and his foul partners (including sex-crazed gallery owner Sadie) were manipulating the crass modern-art market? Or because they were heavily into drugs and sadism? Or because they were. . .running guns to Central America as part of a secret, Ollie-style operation So it seems. And it also seems that, to keep this operation secret, US-backed agents will kill Slater, Freddy's zombie-ish ex-wife Mara, and others--unless Slater and his allies can kill them first. . .or somehow unmask and ""neutralize"" the enigmatic civilian ""contact"" between the government and the death-squad. Perhaps because of the dual authorship, this murky hybrid never seems to settle on a style or tone: the Soho scene (so much better evoked in Jack Early's A Creative Killer) is sometimes realistic, sometimes broadly satirical; the far-fetched melodrama, too, slides between parody and deadpan action, with Slater most often a stolid, faceless super-hero. And the talky revelations are occasionally interrupted by quirky digressions on New York life, Jewishness (imitation-Roth material), and other topics. Sporadically intriguing, but mostly overdone and unappealing.