Grave Doubt

Michael Allegretto, Author Carroll & Graf Publishers $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7867-0186-5
Deft plotting and the engagingly ironic narration of Denver shamus Jake Lomax are nearly wasted in this less than gripping work. A few years back, accountant Martin Blyleven died in a plane wreck, leaving a wife, a child and an insurance policy. He also left his employer, charismatic TV preacher Franklin Reed, with a job to fill. Reed's church, funded mainly with cash, is falling under the watchful eye of a local mafia type, and Blyleven's wife now claims that her husband is alive and demanding money--the precise amount of the insurance policy. The mob-church connection grows stronger, and the PI is threatened by three goons. Except for Lomax, the cast is less than engaging. Immoral, philandering preachers are a dime a dozen, and the Shamus Award-winning Allegretto (Death on the Rocks) breaks no new ground here. But Lomax is as charming as ever, occasionally droll, seldom brilliant but never stupid. He fears faxes and fast new cars and will doubtless never get real lucky in love, but he's a pleasure to hang out with, even when he's just going through the motions. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
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