The outlandish plot is something right out of television's The Avengers--but Gould, despite some sophomoric lapses, proves himself a vivid, often hilarious writer with this second case for his narrator-sleuth: downbeat, very cool, and very Jewish N.Y. reporter Josh Krales (One Dead Debutante, 1975). The weirdness begins when Josh is witness to two odd murders in a couple of days: both involve millionaires, and both are kept out of the papers by orders from . . . somewhere. Could this be connected to another millionaire's sudden decision to give away buckets of cash to the residents of the low-class neighborhood where he was raised? And is this also connected to the slaying of gossip columnist Reva St. James? So it goes--with the trail leading to Jersey, Fire Island, and finally rock/cocaine Malibu, where an unconvincingly Mansonesque solution shapes up as Krales gets heavily sexually involved and also wired with explosives. A rambling nonsense-plot--and Gould loses points every time he goes for a cheap, smirky laugh (place-names like Short Hares, N.J. or the isle of Smegmos). But the repartee here--especially among cops, reporters, hospital employees, and other gritty urban types--is often hip and wildly funny without being cartoony; and if Gould could get his talent under grown-up control, he might really produce a splendid comic novel--mystery or otherwise.