THE GOSPEL LAMB by Jack S. Scott


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Britisher Scott has a sardonic, raunchy style and a distinctive character in belligerent, boorish Detective Sgt. Rosher--but here, even more than in previous books (The Shallow Grave, A Clutch of Vipers), these strengths are undermined by thin, fragmented plotting and a penchant for gratuitously lurid effects. Furthermore, US readers will find the premise this time fearfully dated: a Woodstock-like festival (drugs, nudity, sex, chaos), at which a young girl turns up murdered. Is she another victim of ""The Avenger,"" the latest homicidal sex maniac? So it's thought--but we soon learn that she was killed by the LSD-tripping, ""butch"" lover of a homosexual, Organization-cheating drug-pusher. Yet, while the pusher gets his from the Organization, The Avenger (a 100%-cliche religious/sexual psycho) is indeed on the premises, and after a failed attack on the moll of an undercover drug-cop, he panics and is caught by Rosher. . . accidentally. A few grimly ironic laughs and a moment or two of suspense--but otherwise this is a contrived, annoying scenario without a speck of detection; and at its worst (stream-of-consciousness, wandering focus, oafish sociological comments) it's distressingly akin to the rock-bottom work of prolific John Wainwright.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1980
Publisher: Harper & Row