John Lutz, Author Thomas Dunne Books $22.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-18152-9
""Certainly he was in a romantic business--viewed from the outside,"" thinks Lutz's low-key, low-rent St. Louis PI, Alo Nudger, early in his 10th outing (after 1995's Death by Jury). ""Writers like Chandler, Hammett and Parker had made sure of that."" At first, Nudger's self-effacement is charming, and his honesty about both the real danger and the high drudgery quotient in his line of work refreshing. But after the fourth or fifth mention of Nudger's nervous stomach, and one too many appearances by the donut shop proprietor who guards the PI's office, even the most devoted Nudger fans might wish for a touch of romance. In need of the money, Nudger agrees reluctantly to help Lacy Tumulty, a female colleague who says she lusts for his body, investigate the case of a young woman dead from a fall down the stairs in her locked home. Nudger finds that his interest and sense of honor are engaged after Lacy is badly beaten and other people connected to the dead woman suffer fatal accidents. Calling on his detection skills and a friendship with a local cop whose patience bends credulity, Nudger uncovers the parties responsible for the crimes. But by that time, the wispy pleasures of Lutz's chronic underachiever have mostly drifted out of sight. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/02/1998
Release date: 02/01/1998
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 297 pages - 978-1-56895-653-4
Paperback - 290 pages - 978-1-62815-539-6
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