THE FIRST DIRECTIVE by Joseph McNamara

THE FIRST DIRECTIVE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Sgt. Fraleigh, homicide cop in the Silicon Valley and pulpy narrator of this overlong procedural, is assigned a missing-persons case by his hated Lieut. Foley: Lisa, the teenage daughter of Valley tycoon Adolph Stone, has vanished, along with a friend. Is Lisa's disappearance linked to her opposition to a local ""Moral Reaffirmation"" cult? Does her father--a shady type with political ties--know more than he's saying? And who tipped off the bad guys about a disastrous visit by Fraleigh and his sidekicks (one intellectual Robert Redford type, one Godzilla) to the cult offices? Recuperating from this bloody fracas, Fraleigh begins an affair with the mother of Lisa's missing pal; her husband is soon one of several corpses to surface--including a dismembered one that might be Lisa's. And, at long last, the key clue in the case--photos of a political biggie having sex with a minor--do surface, leading Fraleigh to figure out what the Moral Reaffirmation cult is really up to. . . and who's really behind it. McNamara, a California police-chief, attempts to add weight here--with divorced Fraleigh's guilty broodings, stretches of psychobabble dialogue, and the highbrow chat of that Robert Redford lookalike. The effect, however, is merely meandering and belabored--stretching out a routine California-style mystery (complete with lots of Chandler-esque clichÉs) to a length that exaggerates its flaws and minimizes its modest virtues.

Pub Date: Oct. 5th, 1984
Publisher: Crown