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Disbarred lawyer Tony Kozol (Skulls of Sedona, not reviewed), who ekes out a living as a so-so guitar player, considers himself lucky to have landed on the cross-country tour with Clint Cash and the Cowhands when real guitarist Brian Love breaks his arm. On a four-day stopover in Austin to appear at the Southwest Music Conference, their opening performance ends with the death of roadie Jack Henderson, soon followed by the death of their drummer Hector. Tony has the bad luck to discover both bodies and to be dubbed suspect #1 by his old buddy Izzie, now an Austin cop, when drugs are found tucked away in his guitar case. At the same time, Julian, a Mexican speaking fractured English, keeps hounding Tony to help him find his missing sister, Claudia, and the pretty backup singer he lusts after turns out to be at the beck-and-call of the mighty Clint himself. Female bones are found; a high-stakes poker game gets underway; and Tony is almost electrocuted by a faulty mike setup. Brian and the p.r. dude badmouth Tony every chance they get, and the fatter of the two backup singers keeps popping up in tawdry places. It's seems like a long, long time before Tony, whose detecting skills are even more rudimentary than his guitar playing ("So, who do you think did it?" is one of his conversational gambits), finally puts everything together.

Amateurish prose, dialogue laced with unintentional howlers, and a plot that makes "Chopsticks" look demanding. Ripley also writes as Glenn Meganck, another name to avoid.

Pub Date: May 1st, 2001
ISBN: 1-892695-06-5
Page count: 244pp
Publisher: Long Wind
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2001