JOE NIX IS DEAD by Malcolm McClintick

JOE NIX IS DEAD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Long-running series hero Sgt: George Kelso is called to Clairmont City's All Saints Episcopal Church by kindly Father Allen, whose weekly group meeting for drifting-from-the-faith members is not going well: Participant Philip Eberly has received three poison-pen notes telling him to repent or die. Joining the group undercover, Kelso observes as Philip takes on the role of ""Joe Nix,"" a chronic anti-religion naysayer. Soon after, he receives a fourth letter; then he's murdered. Nonetheless, the group--including right-wing, Bible-thumping oldsters Charles and Doreen; the ""Green Lady""; a spicy divorcÉe; an engaged couple; and a psychologist--heads off on retreat, with Father Allen wringing his hands and Kelso trying to find the murderer, as well as his own lost faith. Finally, it's Kelso who's assigned the ""Joe Nix"" position, but it's the Book of Common Prayer that saves him from Philip's fate. Simplistic wrestling with issues of faith, conscience, God, love, peace, and salvation, with the culprit's motives predictably unworthy. Sluggish pacing and clichÉd characters make this one of Kelso's least engrossing cases.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1990
Publisher: Doubleday