Losers' Club

Lise S. Baker, Author
Lise S. Baker, Author Minotaur Books $23.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-312-24216-9
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4668-5687-5
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San Francisco PI Cal Brantley is sent to Reno, Nev., by her new employer, Worldwide Investigations, to look into an insurance claim after a small boy dies in a casino escalator accident. Unfortunately, Cal must contend not only with an unreasonable new boss but also with a macho ex-cop, Denny Wickerstaff, for a partner. Although the claim seems straightforward, Cal smells a rat when she learns that, according to witnesses, the boy's mother was completely unemotional about the death and that one of the casino's waitresses was murdered the same night. At the same time, Cal is also trying to locate a former boyfriend, Tony Lazio, who has threatened suicide and fled to Reno. While Baker, a real-life California PI, writes crisp dialogue, the novel suffers from lack of character development. That Cal has old hippie relatives and a missing ex-husband doesn't do much to humanize her. Her friendship with neighbor Laurie Stern seems forced, and her ex-beau Tony is superfluous to the main story. The verbal battles between Cal and her despicable partner generate some wit, but at times these tirades overwhelm the plot. A quick and unlikely death marks the finale to a disappointing debut. Agent, Don Maas. (Apr.)
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