FIVE O'CLOCK LIGHTNING by William L. DeAndrea

FIVE O'CLOCK LIGHTNING

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KIRKUS REVIEW

DeAndrea (the dandy Killed in the Ratings, the so-so Killed in the Act) doesn't offer much in the way of mystery this time around: he reveals the assorted bad guys' identities right from the start in this early-1950s murder whimsy involving both McCarthyism and baseball. A McCarthy-like witch-hunter is shot to death while watching a game at Yankee Stadium. Whodunit? Supposedly dead, blacklisted intellectual David Laird--who's out to take revenge on the right-wing creeps who ruined his life. Simultaneously, however, those right-wing creeps (the money/power forces behind the McCarthy-ish politicians) are hatching their own murder scheme: a plan to assassinate Mickey Mantle--and to pin it on the Commies. And investigating all this, sort of in cooperation with the cops, is onetime minor-league catcher Russ ""Rags"" Garrett--a baseball official who's itching to overcome his Korea leg wounds and get back to playing baseball. Garrett is the only one to figure out that Laird isn't dead; he romances Laird's ""widow"" (who's related to Garrett's tragic old flame); he goes south to investigate the politician's set-up (including a sexy secretary/mastermind). And there are the usual kidnappings, showdowns, and countdowns (to save Mickey M. from being blown up). Pretty silly stuff, not nearly as stylish as DeAndrea's other period piece, The Lunatic Fringe--but a passable diversion for those who prefer atmosphere and character (Garrett's a charmer) to clever plotting or credible suspense.

Pub Date: June 17th, 1982
Publisher: St. Martin's