The Sacred Disc

Charles West, Author Salvo Press $12.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-9664520-4-4
Only in California would a New Age cult's holy teachings be contained on a 5 1/4"" floppy disk--hence the title of West's droll, fast-paced debut novel set in the San Joaquin Valley. Bob Fisher, a Vietnam vet with a Ph.D. in history and an honorary Doctorate of Divinity, falls into the detecting business when he inherits an agency with an efficient secretary, and he soon earns a reputation for trouble after an on-air fistfight with an unscrupulous televangelist. Now he accepts his first important sleuthing gig: finding the missing floppy for Yogi Ben Barr and Baba Der Ursus, the mysteriously wealthy leaders of the Eternal Truth Temple. The trail leads to Christy Baker, Tom Hammerhill and Angie Fernandes, all lapsed members with a grudge and a mission. After Tom is murdered, Christy turns to Fisher for help. Later, the police pull Angie's body out of a reservoir. In the process of discovering that many of the temple members are reformed drug addicts, Fisher gets to sleep with Christy and her mother. He also takes a beating from three thugs who wear cowboy boots, speak Spanish and are in the employ of a noted dealer. A lame conclusion and a detective in the familiar retro, smart-alecky, morally flexible mold will gain the author few marks for originality, but an assured and easy style should win him converts. 4-city author tour. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
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