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ONE OF US IS WRONG by Samuel Holt



Pub Date: July 1st, 1986
Publisher: Tor--dist. by St. Martin's

Borrowing a gimmick from Ellery Queen, first-novelist Holt (a pseudonym, presumably) shares his name with the narrator-hero of this mystery/thriller--which gets underway when young, fading TV-star Sam Holt (nÉ Holton Hickey) is nearly rammed to death, quite intentionally, on the San Diego Freeway. Why this crude attack? At first bewildered, Holt then recalls that his old pal, scriptwriter Ross Ferguson, has been in secret big-trouble lately: someone, it seems, staged the murder of Ferguson's girlfriend (with the killer made up to look like Ferguson!), videotaping the crime and mailing the tape to the perplexed writer. Could the freeway blitz be connected to this apparent blackmail scheme against Ferguson? It could indeed--as Holt learns when he tracks down his elusive pal, who's now entirely under the control of the blackmailers: Fundamentalist Moslem terrorists who need Ferguson's L.A. home for doing something awful at a neighboring mosque! So, while the terrorists commit other murders to cover up their doings, Holt--a low-key but determined hero (""I hate derring-do"")--sets out to prevent the impending terrorism. . .with no help at all from crass Ferguson, who's looking forward to making the whole experience into a best seller called Fire Over Beverly Hills. And there'll be kidnapping, swordplay (with improvised weapons), and lots of bloodshed before the essentially cheerful fade-out. Slick, lighthearted (but not too cartoony) action-suspense--with neat show-biz satire, modest romantic charm (Holt has a smart girlfriend on each coast), and an appealingly self-deprecating actor/hero.