Uncle George"" Crowder--ex-county prosecutor, sometime sleuth--the author's least interesting hero (Death by Fire, etc.), whose ten-year-old nephew Joey adores him, is in another less-than-credible pell-mell adventure. Alex Francis, a new teacher at Lakeview's private Longview Academy, has died of a massive overdose caused by the rupture of a drug-filled container he'd swallowed. George and the local sheriff, Red Egan, are warned to back off their investigation by the kidnapping of Joey. George thinks there may be drug-dealing at the Academy, run by highly respected Joshua Willis, or at a local establishment of lesser reputation where jazz musicians hang out. And when a barely alive, beaten, and stabbed Joey turns up on his doorstep, then is hospitalized and heavily guarded, George renews his fumbling efforts. His cabin is torched; his car is bombed, but he plods heavily on to a paper-thin denouement and an unbelievable last-minute rescue. Trite and trivial; padded with repetitive details of its silly plot; in a prose style as leaden and without nuance as its characters, this one's a low for the usually competent Pentecost--back to Pierre Chambrun!