Ace reporter Jimmy Gage, of Hollywood tell-all SLAP magazine, bares all trying to win a boozy scavenger hunt. Flanked by a brace of naked starlets, he . . . well, never mind. It’s the last item on the fetch-list that truly matters. Jimmy and his team need “a real Oscar”—that is, “no best-costume or best-song crap.” Enter ex-director Garrett Walsh, recently released from prison after pleading guilty seven years earlier to the rape-murder of a young actress, a crime he may actually have committed. Stoned as he was then, he can’t really remember, but he’s set down the details of his suspected frame in the screenplay he’s termed “The Most Dangerous Scenario in the World.” Sure, Jimmy may borrow his Oscar, but in return he wants his finished script read and written about big-time in SLAP. Jimmy agrees to the reading part. The next time he sees Walsh, however, the scenarist is floating face down in a fish pond, an apparent suicide. But Walsh’s script has vanished, and that spells murder to Jimmy. Who wants the MDSW permanently shelved? Who wants the ex-director permanently ex’d? Jimmy has to know, because, as he says, “I just don’t like seeing the bad guys walk off into the sunset, whistling a happy tune.”
Only once in his six-novel career (Horse Latitudes, 1990) has Ferrigno managed to gain a length on his hard-boiled competition. Since then (Flinch, 2001, etc.) he’s been solidly mid-pack.