Plodding P.I. novel, from an author whose paperback career proved one thing: cliches make a poor substitute for imagination. Here, Slots Resnick--ex-N.Y.P.D., ex-farm-club shortstop--backs into unsolving a case the police consider solved: two eyewitnesses, riding in movie-star Ned ""Iron Man"" Pinto's limo, say they saw Tommy Noolan balance his bike, take aim with his shotgun, and blast their host to smithereens--plus, Noolan has confessed and is now in custody. The only hitch is that sister Carol's polygraph indicates that Tommy was with her that morning, despite what he says and everyone else saw. Who has a motive? Many, it turns out, including nameless terrorists eager to stop Pinto's ""Rally for America"" scheduled for Madison Sq. Garden; Pinto's dragon-lady wife Tanya; Bert Sloan, his co-owner of Command Studios; a beefy bodyguard; and a wiry bodyguard. Before Tommy is vindicated, though, Tanya is kidnapped; the hostage tape is analyzed into 62 tracks and uncovers A Clue; there's a semi-mean midnight meeting in a meat market, improbable detective work by Carol the intermittent coke-snorter and her gay fellow druggie, and a brouhaha in a parking complex near the Rally site--which spells out who wasted Pinto, kidnapped Tanya, eliminated a bodyguard or two, and wired a couple of cars for deadly results. Slots' girlfriend, by the way, could care less about all these goings-on and regularly phones him to make noises about his lack of commitment. If you enjoy being two steps ahead of the author all the way through, this book is for you.