DEATH OF THE ROCKS by Michael Allegretto


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For readers who prefer their detective-action straightforward, un-tricky, literate but visceral: a solid debut appearance by Denver shamus Jake Lomax--who is hired to find out if the death of wealthy Philip Townsend On a mountain car-crash) was accident, murder, or suicide. It doesn't take long to learn that prim-and-proper Townsend not only cheated on his wife but had kinky tastes: Lomax finds a blackmail videotape of the dead man's orgy-rape action with underage girls. So, to identify the blackmailer, Lomax poses as a sex-seeker with Townsend-like preferences--a quest which leads him to a chic callgirl, a failed filmmaker, and ruthless villain Leonard Reese. But though Lomax is sure that Reese was behind Townsend's death (and at least one other murder), he has no proof. And the final chapters involve Lomax's entrapment of Reese's bearlike sidekick--and a chase/showdown with the foul mastermind himself (who has now kidnapped Townsend's widow and daughter). No twists and little depth--but the action is swift, the dialogue is unfussily smart, and Jake's laconic narration, despite occasional hard-boiled platitudes (""I left him with his empty bottle and empty dreams""), provides a fine layer of wry, relaxed intelligence.

Pub Date: July 8th, 1987
Publisher: Scribners