For his fifth Alan Bernhardt novel, Wilcox (Find Her a Grave) thrusts the San Francisco-based actor and part-time sleuth back into the stolen-art case that exploded into violence in the series debut, Bernhardt's Edge. In that book, Bernhardt saved the life of art expert Betty Giles, who, along with her boyfriend, was blackmailing aged millionaire Raymond DuBois, owner of several pieces of stolen art. Now the FBI is putting heat on Bernhardt to reveal Betty's whereabouts, while DuBois, who would like to preserve his reputation by returning the purloined pieces to their rightful owners, hires Bernhardt to do so. Before long, the PI-working closely with his lover and colleague Paula-tumbles into another tangled imbroglio that features several villains and makes him tap into his own darkest, most brutal impulses. Elaborate recaps of the first book make this novel occasionally difficult to follow; and Bernhardt, who tends to pose rather than sleuth, sometimes seems just a collection of mannerisms. The action is challengingly complex, however, with plenty of interesting stolen-art lore, and this outing, while not Bernhardt's best, still should satisfy his fans. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1994 Release date: 11/01/1994 Genre: Fiction
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