Old rock stars never die. Oh, wait, maybe they do.
Freddie Finger, lead singer of legendary ’70s band Rocket Fire, stumbles drunkenly out of Cantaloupe's Restaurant in Manhattan and into the path of an unnamed acquaintance, who puts him into the back of a car for one last ride. Freddie's is the third rock ’n’ roll killing in recent memory, and the NYPD's Lt. Roland takes the unusual step of putting the latest victim's daughter, Vivian Younger, in touch with his friend, private detective and famed astrologer David Lowell (Murder in the 11th House, 2011). Aided by Sarah, a brisk girl Friday, Lowell proceeds methodically, first interviewing Freddie's former band mates and then his multiple ex-wives before comparing notes with Roland. It's clear that Freddie had no dearth of enemies, a list made even longer by his decades of substance abuse. Interestingly, Freddie's unexpected death is likely to boost sales of an upcoming album. Lowell also checks in regularly with Vivian, and there's definite chemistry between client and sleuth. The reader also gets a glimpse into Lowell's knowledge of astrology, which informs his insights on the case. One afternoon, when Sarah's out of the office, Lowell receives an anonymous tip with a request for a rendezvous in SoHo. Could this be the piece of evidence that breaks the case, or is it an ambush?
Lowell's second case lays out a traditional whodunit in a direct and well-balanced manner. But Lewis’ prose needs a little less starch and a little more style.