You don’t need a gun in Kalamazoo City.
When a candidate for mayor is attacked by a masked intruder, the weapon is a boomerang. And when the Kalamazoo police squad takes on a gang of criminals, they’re all throwing boomerangs. That gives the story a genteel, civilized feel, but sometimes the device gets a little silly. Near the climax, Detective Zengo—who’s guarding the candidate—is grabbed by a thug and feels “the cold steel of a boomerang, placed at his temple.” Of course, in a novel in which the assailant is a squirrel and the candidate is a panda, a boomerang doesn’t seem that odd. Most of the time, the story isn’t nearly silly enough. For a long stretch in the middle of the book, the detectives do nothing but tour a factory. It’s remarkably dull even though they’re variously disguised in wigs, cowboy boots, and a purple velvet sweatsuit. The small touches do work, like a business called Frank’s Franks and a five-star nightclub that serves root beer floats. It's all a little quaint, like the old sitcoms where married couples slept in separate beds.
In the end, readers may wish the book were a little more exciting and a little less genteel. (Mystery. 8-12)