FISH STORY by Richard Hoyt


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This fourth outing for Seattle shamus John Denson draws back, happily, from the cutesy strain of The Siskiyou Two-Step (1983)--but it's still more curious than steadily entertaining in its blend of offbeat characters, black comedy, and serious mystery. Denson's tangles this time involve a lawsuit by the Cowlitz Indians, who want treaty rights to Columbia River salmon-fishing. The opposition: lobbyists for the commercial/sport fishing interests. The judge: one Moby Rappaport. So, when Rappaport and his law-clerk both disappear, pieces of their bodies later turning up (as if by magic) in a local park, there are plenty of suspects--including Denson's Cowlitz pal Willie Prettybird. And complications are provided by Willie's gorgeous sister Melinda (victim of odd assaults) and shady doings re a salmon cannery--before Denson and lawyer/bedmate Janine (some puerile ribaldry here) locate the hideaway of the ""butcher murderer"" in Seattle's abandoned underground tunnels. A flimsy puzzle, with farfetched touches--but Denson's narration is marbled with flaky charm, sharp dialogue, and seedily flavorsome atmosphere.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1985
ISBN: 1847823343
Publisher: Viking