Daily News reporter Gil Malloy (The Kennedy Connection, 2014, etc.) probes another old murder whose victim was just as famous, though not just as real.
Abbie Kincaid says she’s got the story of a lifetime, and Stacy Albright, city editor of the Daily News, believes her—or at least believes the synergy between a New York newspaper and the TV host of The Prime Time Files spells bigger numbers all around. So Stacy presses Gil to interview Abbie for an article tied into her big segment. Abbie takes to Gil instantly, and vice versa, but she’s very cagey about the story. It concerns Laura Marlowe, the rising Hollywood star shot down 30 years ago after the wrap party for her third film, but Abbie only hints at why the story is worth reporting all over again. The night after she collapses in tears at Gil’s place, she’s found shot to death herself in the same hotel Laura died outside. Only after she’s dead does Gil realize that she’d convinced herself that whoever killed Laura, it wasn’t Ray Janson, the stalker who hanged himself shortly afterward, because the real killer went on to claim three more victims, rising young media stars like Laura and Abbie. Was the murderer Laura’s mobbed-up patron Thomas Rizzo, whose son Tommy was seeing Abbie before she died? Laura’s obnoxiously indomitable stage mother, Beverly Makofsky? Her absentee father, David Valentine? Or someone connected to the murderous cult Sign of the Z, whose members haven’t been heard from since the early ’80s?
Gil’s tiresome badinage, more redolent of attitude than wit, marks him as a Spenser wannabe. What shines brightest here is Belsky’s talent for keeping the pace steady and fast so that every round of inquiries produces more satisfyingly tawdry revelations.