The Voyeur

Michael Moriarty, Author
Michael Moriarty, Author Simon & Schuster $22 (224p) ISBN 978-0-684-80425-5
Reviewed on: 12/01/1970
Release date: 12/01/1941
Moriarty, a film and TV actor who has appeared recently in Law and Order, makes an ambitious debut with an idiosyncratic tale involving a professional athlete accused of killing his wife. The narrator is J.C. Kaminer, an absentminded and overeducated Southern-bred psychiatrist, who is treating New York City pro basketball star Charles Manes. Manes, who is black, is cursed with the insatiable and indiscreet Charlotte, who is white, for a wife. When Charlotte is murdered, Manes is the prime suspect. Convinced Manes didn't do the deed, Kaminer teams up with his onetime lover, Marion Brockman, the shrink to whom he had referred Charlotte shortly before the murder, to find the truth. The verbose twosome argue, fall in love and find that the list of Charlotte's sexual conquests is long and ugly. The flimsy murder plot is secondary to Kaminer's self-consciously urbane narration and to his angst over whether or not he's violating his shrinkish ethics. Moriarty writes with some genuine style, but he tries too hard, indulging the narrating Kaminer in all manner of erudite digressions while neglecting to make any of the other characters--be they ballplayers, mobsters or lawyers--remotely interesting. He's given us a main character with a distinct voice who's badly in need not just of a mystery plot but also of a credible world in which any such plot can unfold. (June)
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