Mantis

Richard La Plante, Author
Richard La Plante, Author Tor Books $19.95 (350p) ISBN 978-0-312-85531-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-8125-3019-3
Paperback - 322 pages - 978-1-4961-8152-7
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Philadelphia is plagued by a series of psychosexual killings that will repulse and engross readers of this slightly over-the-edge thriller about a martial artist gone mad. Scruffy homicide Lt. Bill Fogarty gets nowhere on the case until smooth Joey Tanaka, a young half-American assistant medical examiner (and All-Japan Championship karate finalist), identifies wounds on an art student/stripper victim as typical of Praying Mantis Kung Fu--a karate style based on the insect's attack moves. La Plante's unbalanced half-Vietnamese villain seeks perfection by mimicking the mantis's deadly mating ritual: he sexually attacks his victims, male and female, before savagely doing them in. A police sketch of the killer resembles Tanaka, which worries Fogarty. Then the killer ruthlessly batters Fogarty and kidnaps Tanaka's lover, Rachel--raising the stakes. La Plante flirts with the supernatural when Tanaka's relationship with the killer leads to a final face-off. The mixed ethnic cast reads true--if somewhat stereotyped--in this Bruce-Lee-meets-city-cop adventure. The author, who is married to Lynda La Plante, creator of the Prime Suspect series for PBS, has previously published several books in the U.K. Major ad/promo. (May)
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