MIRROR MAZE by William Bayer

MIRROR MAZE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Another dizzying high-wire act from Bayer (Blind Side, 1989; Wallflower, 1991; etc.). The thrills this time come from watching Lt. Frank Janek tease out the connections between a routine bar pickup that left the victim drugged, robbed, and dead, and a nine-year-old sex murder, long since closed, that reeks of NYPD coverup; the final gasp of disappointment comes from watching the talented author lose his balance. For nine years, corporate-takeover king Jake Mendoza, who liked his sex games raunchy, has been doing time for hiring boxer Gus Metaxas, since a suicide victim, to kill his wife and enthusiastic S&M partner Edith. Case closed--until Janek, returning from a wildly misfired visit to Cuba to interrogate the just-discovered Mendoza maid, is confronted with the murder of Philip Dietz, a West Coast exec who avenged his firing by walking off with an out-of-this-world computer chip that was missing from the hotel room he'd brought his attractive pickup back to. We already know about the pickup--she's a professional ``bad girl'' named Gelsey who drugs, robs, and humiliates men on the make in revenge for her father's sexual abuse in a mirror maze underneath her house on a now-deserted Newark fairground. But what does all this have to do with the legendary Mendoza case? Not much, really, despite an overdose of mirror metaphors and a spectacular mirror-maze finale cribbed (with acknowledgment) from The Lady of Shanghai. The police-corruption plot shines with rot; the hints of kinky sex are gruesome as ever; and the general atmosphere is brilliantly nasty. But despite the foundations of another powerhouse procedural, the yawning gaps and heroic coincidences finally bring the funhouse down. (First printing of 25,000)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-679-43091-1
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Villard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1993




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