SKINFLICK by Joseph Hansen


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Case #5--and not quite in league with Hansen's best--for gently taciturn California insurance investigator Dave Brandstetter. The dead man is Gerald Dawson, film-equipment leaser by day, religious-fanatic and anti-porno vigilante by night; and the obvious suspect is a porno-bookstore owner who's been terrorized by Dawson's brigade. But Dave soon finds all sorts of contradictions: upright Dawson was keeping a nymphet in a Sunset Strip motel, and Dawson's partner was busily leasing equipment to a porno-flick company. Which casts suspicion on both the partner and Dawson's mortified wife and son. But the real culprit lies far afield--just one of the failings in a rather overheated investigation that counts on a few too many fanatics and psychos to keep it going. Also a problem: homosexual Brandstetter's liaison with a witchy transvestite, which even Hansen's usual tact cannot save from distastefulness or bathos. Still, the narration is as lean as ever, and the repartee is dandy, especially the comic glimpses of porno-film-making on the cheap. So--solid, Macdonald-esque work, but marred by too many strainings around the edges this time out.

Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 1979
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston