Brilliant, witty, marvelously alive detective novel that places Beinhart among the best of the year and starts his career off with a home run. Private-eye Tony Cassella has some ghosts in his past: a coke habit he's kicked (uh, repeatedly), this last time with his good woman Glenda helping him help himself; and his Uncle Vincent, a Mafia kingpin. It's tough when a private-eye has blood ties with the hoods. But sometimes it helps too, as when Tony needs a little help from a friend after he finds some blacks have accepted a contract on his life. That could have a deadening effect on the fresh new homelife he's built with Glenda. And Glenda, well. . .he's away from home several days a week and she's almost paranoid with jealousy, what with Tony being hired by Christina Wood, a rhapsodically sexy jet-set Bikini tootsie, to find out who murdered her father, and with Tony once more being thrown in with his horny ex-wife Sandy, a well-endowed writer-therapist. Can Tony's new home survive? Will he start snorting again? Well, Choate Haven, the top lawyer, has just slipped Tony $35,000 (nonreturnable) as half-payment on finding out what Edgar Wood knows about Choate Haven's law firm. Edgar, a lawyer with Choate Haven, has just been convicted of naughty deeds (embezzling $8 million) and sentenced to Attica. But Edgar cries loudly in court that he is blowing the whistle on Choate Haven's supremely prestigious firm and will have all of them in jail with him. So the SEC arranges to interview Edgar in seclusion and find out what he knows that will help them nail Choate Haven & partners. Before Edgar finishes his aria into the tape recorder, someone bashes his head in and steals his glorious $50,000 Jaguar. Was he mugged for his Jaguar or murdered to silence him? The sometimes surreal trail to the exceptionally unexpected final revelation bends through hilariously bizarre National Enquirer territory that has a Virginia police force being led by its nose all over the countryside at the whim of a nutty woman psychic. Top-grade dialogue, deliciously deft, very wise indeed about police work and the securities exchange, featuring a scoundrelly hero who is tied into knots by his code and a headful of melancholy bar lyrics.