The Straight Man

Roger Lichtenberg Simon, Author Villard Books $15.95 (225p) ISBN 978-0-394-55837-0
Simon's own experiences in therapy, as a writer for Richard Pryor and as a freelance prober of charity campaigns, furnish the plot in the new detective Moses Wine saga. Taking his psychiatrist's advice, Moses attacks depression by investigating Mike Ptak's death, on behalf of his widow Emily. Mike was the straight man for the famous, manic black comic Otis King, now a virtual prisoner in Dr. Bannister's clinic for drug addicts. With permission from the doctor, Moses questions Otis but the meeting is brief, wild and unproductive. The detective begins to share Emily's doubts that her husband was a suicidethe official verdictand follows other clues to the case. When Otis escapes and flies from Los Angeles to New York City, Moses follows him into frightening territory. The comic's brother is King King, powerful drug lord, and his soldiers send the sleuth posthaste out of town. Back home, he attends a benefit for Cosmic Aid, to feed the world's starving, the climax to the chilling, disturbingly realistic events that Simon spikes with earthy humor. Paperback rights to this and four previous Wine novels to Warner's. (October 27)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1986
Release date: 09/01/1986
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