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Matt Jacob, a widower and former Boston p.i. who's now working as a building super out of an apartment full of Art Deco radios, is lured back to work by two apparently unrelated cases in this hazy, lumpy first novel. The first case begins with an early morning call from Matt's shrink, Gloria James, whose office building has been broken into. One of the ransacked offices belongs to her mentor, radical therapist Eban Holmes, and she's worried that he's being blackmailed. Later the same morning, Matt's lawyer friend Simon persuades Matt to follow his wife Fran, who seems to be in some kind of trouble that can't be warded off by her father, scruffy tycoon Alex Hirsh. Matt reluctantly tails Fran to the ransacked office building; but instead of seeing a connection, he sees stars when two of Boston's finest come calling on him with their fists. Both Gloria and Simon keep telling Matt he's not a very good detective, and they have a point: he'd rather smoke dope and hang out with his raffish friends (unsavory tenant Julius, interior decorators Charles and Richard, lust object Boots) than solve their cases. It isn't until Gloria's assaulted, her own office trashed, and a mystery man who's been parking outside the building killed that Matt finally takes off for decaying Perth Amboy, New Jersey, where he finds the clue that links the two cases and sets the stage for a surprisingly explosive finale. Doped-out Matt thinks he's a lot more interesting than his friends' mysteries, and until nearly the end he's right.

Pub Date: Aug. 15th, 1990
Publisher: Harper & Row