FADE OUT by Robert Upton


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Amos McGuffin, the boozy San Francisco gumshoe of Who'd Want to Kill Old George? (1976), goes to L.A. this time--to look for artsy film-producer Ben Volper, an apparent suicide-by-drowning. . . but with no sign of a corpse. Amos talks to Ben's widow, bosomy star Jenny Lang, to his circle of longtime colleague/cronies--director Isaac Stein, writer David Hochman, agent Judy Sloan, actor Mark Drumm. And, after getting tortured by Amos' money-man, a sleek Bel-Air Arab, Amos figures out that Ben and friends were all involved in cocaine dealing for the Arab supplier: Ben was murdered for drug-ring reasons, it seems. But why are the cops obstructing Amos' sleuthing? Because that Arab is really an anti-Khomeini financier with CIA links! So a frustrated Amos is pressured into giving up on the case, returning to his bottle in Frisco--until a resurfacing clue inspires him to hit L. A. again, with an entirely different theory about Ben's death. . . and two other murders. Sounds overplotted? It certainly is--with a particularly farfetched wrap-up of under-motivated cold-blooded killers. But Amos somehow remains amused and easygoing throughout these hyper doings; and the result is breezily painless, with just a gentle whiff of parody and a few nice Rockford Files-ish running gags.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1984
Publisher: Viking