Close Softly the Doors

Ronald Clair Roat, Author, Roat, Author Story Line Press $18.95 (148p) ISBN 978-0-934257-48-0
Featuring two-fisted PI Stuart Mallory, this first novel launching a planned series fails despite some welcome fresh elements. The locale is new--the city of Lansing and the lakes and dunes of western Michigan--and Mallory is also studying for a graduate degree in sociology. But Roat's language and a number of narrative devices are stale, including the carnage set off by Kathy Whitman, a sexpot with as much honesty as Hammett's Brigid O'Shaughnessy. Although the novel has energy to burn, extraneous details neither advance the plot nor explain character; and the dialogue has all the crackle of a wet sponge. Kathy, Mallory's high school sweetheart, gets in touch with him for the first time in 15 years. She wants protection from her mob-financed lover and boss, Sam Pendergrass, who has threatened to kill her. She has stolen Sam's computerized books, she says, and testified against him before a grand jury. Before Mallory learns Kathy's secret, he has slept with her, been in a number of fights, faced murder charges and almost bled to death. The title goes unexplained. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/04/1991
Release date: 02/01/1991
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