The Dick and the Devil

Robert Dichiara, Author, Robert Dichara, Author Tor Books $18.95 (374p) ISBN 978-0-312-93188-9
DiChiara's first novel gives a pleasing twist to a tried-and-true concept: a modern-day cop sells his soul to the devil in order to become a 1949 private eye and solve the murder of his father. When L.A. Patrolman Jonathan Harding discovers a skeleton wearing the wedding ring that had belonged to his father, who died before Harding was born, he begins to question his mother's account of Nathaniel Harding's death in a fire. Enter the devil, Sol Berner, offering (for the usual price) Jonathan the chance to jump back and forth in time between 1949 and 1986 and unravel the mystery. As 1949 PI Johnny Hard, Harding is confronted with a series of startling events: his first client is his father, who hires him to tail his flirtatious mother; a brutal police nemesis is the father of his modern-day best friend; the devil himself is a partner in the detective agency. Several mobsters and tough guys, the requisite beautiful secretary and more than enough confusing secrets and relationships fulfill the demands of the private eye genre. While the conclusion does not quite come up to the story's promise, DiChiara delivers an enjoyable and offbeat debut. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/06/1989
Release date: 07/01/1989
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