A bizarre murder and a melodramatic denouement add up to a weakly plotted time-waster with a hard-to-credit premise: plucky college security guard risks life to solve mystery. Barth, author of Furnished for Murder and the Margaret Binyon series, creates lifelike characters, notably his hero, wisecracking Greek-American Vietnam vet Costas Agonomou. Forty-four-year-old Costas has been suspended by the NYPD for killing a young Chinese crack dealer he mistakenly thought was reaching for a gun. As a kind of penance, he has taken a job as a guard at a Catholic college in Brooklyn. The death of high-living art teacher Vincent Ponzini in the college weight room late one night leads Costas to some freelance sleuthing. Although the police and the college president insist that Ponzini's death was accidental, Costas soon establishes that evidence has been tampered with and that Ponzini was a blackmailer of AIDS victims and others, including a basketball star. The book comes to a comic-strip end when Costas and his beloved stepson foil the murderer, who is holding a gun to the prez's head as a crucial, very close basketball game goes into its final seconds. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1992 Release date: 06/01/1992 Genre: Fiction
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