THE FACE BEHIND THE MASK by John Minahan

THE FACE BEHIND THE MASK

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Another loose, chatty, far-fetched report from ""Little John"" Rawlings of the NYPD (The Great Hotel Robbery, The Great Diamond Robbery)--this time, however, with an ugly tale of psycho-crime that's out of sync with Minahan's farcical tendencies. There's a nervy rapist/robber/killer on the loose in New York, committing 12 kinky assaults (described in clinical detail) in less than a month. So, under rising pressure from publicity-mad Chief Vadney, Rawlings intensifies his investigation--which quickly leads, with some help from anonymous tips, to disturbed, handsome cop Ron Laslo. An attempt to arrest Laslo, however, is disastrous: the killer escapes, taking policewoman Jessica Taylor with him as a hostage; soon Laslo, in hiding, is threatening to kill Jessica unless he's given $500,000. The rest of this ragged police-procedural, then, focuses on Rawlings' search for Laslo's Brooklyn hide-out--which he discovers after long visits with Laslo's father (a famous jazz drummer), mother, and grandfather. And the finale, complete with slapstick mishaps and the bullish presence of Chief Vadney (""I intend to collar this fucker personally""), features the capture of Laslo and the rescue of a much-abused Jessica. . .who'll turn vigilante in a gratuitously melodramatic epilogue. An inane mixture of limp comedy and down-and-dirty police drama--padded out with quirky digressions (some of them half-appealing), half-baked in its pseudo-psychology (Laslo's case-history is a feeble sketch), and sloppily delivered in Rawlings' coarse, rat-a-tat shorthand.

Pub Date: Jan. 20th, 1985
Publisher: Norton