The Concrete Pillow: A Case for Deets Shanahan

Ronald Tierney, Author St. Martin's Press $21 (230p) ISBN 978-0-312-11762-7

Indianapolis PI Deets Shanahan is a 70-something loner who finds himself in the middle of a crowd in his fourth outing (after, most recently, Eclipse of the Heart). Love interest Maureen has moved into his house, and the son he hasn't seen in 40 years is coming to visit. Meanwhile he has a new client, a heroin addict named Luke, who is one of the famous Quad Squad--a set of quadruplet brothers who electrified Indiana during their high-school basketball years. With their glory days behind them, the brothers (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) have been showing an alarming tendency to literally fall from high places. Did Mark commit suicide? Or was he pushed? Matthew survived his fall, which happened during a family outing, but is now confined to a wheelchair. Luke is convinced someone has murdered his brother and that he is next in line. The remaining family members, who exhibit an imaginative range of sociopathic tendencies, are steadfastly uncooperative and, in the case of the father, openly hostile. Shanahan is a terrific character, feisty, even noble, but he is ill-served in this choppy, improbable plot; not even the sharp exchanges he has with Maureen and others can save this entry. (Apr.)