MOTH AND FLAME: A Benjamin Justice Novel

Morgan John Wilson, Author, John M. Wilson, Author . St. Martin's Minotaur $23.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-30984-8

The sights and sounds of contemporary Hollywood lift Wilson's well-plotted sixth Benjamin Justice mystery (after 2003's Blind Eye ). When actor-turned-writer Bruce Bibby is brutally murdered in his apartment, journalist-sleuth Justice takes on the task of finishing a booklet Bibby was working on that celebrates the 20th anniversary of the City of West Hollywood. It seems a simple enough task, but proves to be only the tip of the iceberg. Bibby's murder is somehow connected to a shady condominium development deal, as well as to the still-mysterious, decades-old disappearance of a local handyman. The advantages of the glitzy L.A. setting include glimpses of the rich and famous: Robert Duvall makes a cameo appearance, as does the Chateau Marmont, where John Belushi died of an overdose. The ghosts of Hollywood past hang heavy over all, despite the aggressively up-to-the-minute detail. Justice, for example, is gay, uses Prozac, is HIV-positive and is minus an eye, giving a whole new meaning to the term "private eye." Agent, Alice Martell. Regional author tour. (Feb. 1)

FYI: Wilson is the coauthor with Peter Duchin of Blue Moon and Good Morning, Heartache, which likewise use real-life celebrities for verisimilitude.

Reviewed on: 01/10/2005
Release date: 12/01/2004
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