Baltimore Blues

Lee Moler, Author St. Martin's Press $17.95 (280p) ISBN 978-0-312-05819-7
This mindless first novel, an action caper set during a hot, humid Baltimore summer, is a gadgety contrivance at best, containing a few bright lines and two or three interesting characters but little suspense, wit or charm. Vietnam veteran Lowell Ransom, who has quit a white-collar job to become a private investigator, is hired by a suspicious wife to find out where her husband, Walter Samski, has been spending his nights. It turns out that Samski and two others have been working clandestinely and lucratively to rewire the same electronic circuit boards they've turned out in daytime for an aircraft parts factory. Ransom, scenting the possibility of blackmail, cuts himself in and steals some of the boards. The result is two murders and a trail leading to an aircraft designer, a congressman and a bagman for Spiro Agnew, now in the pay of Arab interests. The thriller ends with a scene in which generic Arab hit men are torturing a nude blonde tied to a pool table. This event gives Ransom a chance to blow the villains away with war surplus weaponry--``the two men disappear in a molten white ball.'' The grit and gore do little to enhance a tasteless tale. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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