Otherwise Known as Murder: A Mystery Introducing Stokes Moran

Neil McGaughey, Author
Neil McGaughey, Author Scribner Book Company $20 (0p) ISBN 978-0-684-19674-9
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What begins as unlikely ends as unseemly in this self-reflective first novel by a reviewer of mysteries. Narrator Kyle Malachi, writing as Stokes Moran, is a syndicated mystery reviewer working on his first mystery novel. His ``beautiful agent,'' Lee Holland, convinces him to take a $25,000 assignment from Playboy to find and interview a reclusive bestselling mystery author. The only clue to Seymour Severe's whereabouts is the New Orleans setting of his books. Kyle goes there, spends some time in a dark gay bar, passes out and wakes up in bed next to a naked, dead boy. He flees back to Connecticut, but Lee convinces him he's been hoaxed and must return to the Crescent City where the puzzle finally assembles itself--without any help from Kyle. Arch and awkward, the narrative is punctuated with quotes from Stokes's reviews and insider references to other writers. Worse, though, the plot turns out to be a trick one, cheating readers. (July)
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