Unwanted Company

Barbara Seranella, Author HarperCollins Publishers $24 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-019213-6
Hanging on to a marginal existence by her fingernails, ex-addict Miranda ""Munch"" Mancini supplements her income as a Los Angeles auto mechanic by scrupulously running her own limo service--consisting of one sparkling Cadillac. But as this energetic novel rapidly shows, Munch takes on more than she bargained for when she accepts unscrupulous federal agent Raleigh Ward; his charge, sleazy Romanian diplomat Victor Draicu; and two beauteous female friends as week-long customers. It's 1984, the Olympics are coming to Los Angeles and the Eastern Bloc is to be pampered. But a serial killer is loose, viciously stabbing young women, and Munch gets involved in that nightmare when the two women last seen in her limo apparently become the murderer's latest victims. Matters complicate when Munch's reckless friend Ellen, just released from jail, takes Victor and Raleigh (and the limo) to Tijuana, only to see her two passengers actively involved in a triple homicide. Could either Raleigh or Victor--busy with their own highly illegal scam involving contraband weapons--be the serial killer? Unfortunately, this third in the Munch series (after No Offense Intended) shows its hand far too soon, yet its plot is still confusing. Yet despite these flaws and a pat ending, the novel's dizzying pace, married to Seranella's incisive portraits of flawed, vulnerable characters, makes for a satisfying novel. Agent, Sandy Dijkstra. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
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