The world’s largest SF convention boasts almost as many corpses as revelers.
Gay Chicago cop Paul Turner first hears about the splashy science-fiction meeting when his sons, teenager Brian and 11-year-old Jeff, confined to a wheelchair with spina bifida, need help making otherworldly costumes for the event. While his lover Ben and their next door neighbor escort the boys to the festivities, Paul (Dead Egotistical Morons, 2003, etc.) goes to work, where he and his partner, Buck Fenwick, catch the first squeal: murder at the convention. The victim is beloved star speaker Muriam Devers, 70, thwacked with a broadsword. Brian’s costume, alas, included a broadsword, now missing, and though Paul knows his son is no killer, he’s stymied when his initial interviews with attendees uncover only fond memories of the deceased and surprise that the novelist was dressed as Xena, Warrior Princess. Later interviews uncover fear and loathing of randy Muriam, who pinched butts to audition young studs for her personal writing group. A book reviewer dies, a cop is ambushed, and sci-fi loony Melvin Slate expires on the hotel roof, each crime scene sporting a broken red ostrich feather, Muriam’s signature accessory, before a fire alarm points to the troublemaker and yet more mayhem.
Though Zubro takes gleeful aim at venal writers, editors, publishers and agents, his own plot could use some fine-tuning. Below average for this long-running series.