TAILOR'S DUMMY by Irving Weinman


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Weinman shows some talent for brisk, bright urban narration in this suspense debut, but the thriller itself--a tale of cat-and-mouse, between a gutsy NYPD detective and a swank psycho-killer--is a derivative jumble of groaning coincidences, tacky pomo-titillations, and glossy non-characters. Len Schwartz, a 40-ish Harvard grad, damaged his NYPD career a few years back when he got caught taking a big bribe from a cocaine dealer. Now, at last, desk-bound Schwartz is back on a real case: the murder of gay art-dealer Alex Horvay--whose death seems at first to be connected to his ""rough trade"" sex-life. But the reader knows from the start that Horvay was killed by super-hitman John Sheridan, a gorgeously handsome, blueblooded, suave Vietnam vet; and that psycho Sheridan was hired by Metropolitan Museum curator ""Bobo"" Vandevelde--who was Horvay's secret accomplice in a series of profitable art-forgery scams. How will Schwartz figure out the truth? Well, his luscious wife Karen just happens to be an art-historian; hit-man Sheridan just happens to be an old Harvard classmate of Schwartz's; Sheridan's girlfriend just happens to be the art expert whom Karen consults; etc., etc. Thus, Schwartz will soon be baiting and tracking the nerveless Sheridan (they jog together, macho-dueling all the way)--while extraneous chapters concentrate on the graphic sex-doings (in public places) of Sheridan and girlfriend Georgia. And after Sheridan kidnaps and kinkily molests Karen, there'll be an elaborate--yet routine--showdown-and-chase finale. Elegant psycho-swine Sheridan is a totally implausible creation; sexy, nervy Schwartz is only slightly more credible; the museum/gallery backgrounds are far from convincing. So, despite some agreeable bits of city grit and comedy along the way, this first novel is more often contrived and unpleasant than diverting or exciting--especially when compared to such superior cat-and-mouse concoctions as Charles Willeford's Miami Blues (1984).

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1986
Publisher: Atheneum