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FLINCH by Robert Ferrigno

FLINCH

By Robert Ferrigno

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 2001
ISBN: 0-375-40125-3
Publisher: Pantheon

The brothers Gage, Jimmy and Jonathan, share a relationship that makes Cain and Abel’s seem loving. An eyelash above ne’er-do-well, Jimmy is a staffer for scruffy tabloid mag SLAP, while Jonathan’s an eminent plastic surgeon. But Jimmy’s a good guy, and Jonathan’s a toad. Among Jimmy’s fans is the Eggman, a self-proclaimed serial killer who writes Jimmy a letter claiming credit for six unsolved murders. When Jimmy calls in the police, he earns his five minutes of fame, though they end when the murders do. In the backlash, he’s accused of having perpetrated a hoax. Then grisly Polaroids of the victims turn up in Jonathan’s secret stash. Jimmy and elegant, touch-me-not Detective Jane Holt, by now his lone collaborator in the Eggman hunt, are stunned. Jimmy always knew Jonathan had his failings, but he never thought homicidal mania was one of them. And Jane, who thinks Jonathan has “lovely hands” and an appealing way about him, is certainly knocked offstride. In the meantime, there are other issues to be resolved. Jonathan’s wife is Jimmy’s former girlfriend. Does he still love her? And ice-maiden Jane has, all at once, become a furnace in search of a stoker. While the Eggman continues curiously inactive, clues to his identity keep mounting. Do they really point to Jonathan?

Some trademark turns of phrase and a few very good scenes warrant this as authentic Ferrigno (Heartbreaker, 1999, etc.). But the characters are stuck in Noir Standard Time, and ever since The Horse Latitudes (1990), that’s been a trademark as well.