Death Among the Angels

John Walter Putre, Author Scribner Book Company $18.95 (264p) ISBN 978-0-684-19238-3
At one point in Putre's (A Small and Incidental Murder ) second extraordinary private eye procedural, a character says to the sleuth, ``I hope . . . you're fighting this one on the side of the angels, Mr. Doll.'' But to Doll, it appears that the oddly assorted group of people linked to a murder represent nothing but a sleazy level of hell. Doll is lured to the Florida coast to help out his former lover, Diane Raney, being held for a grisly murder. Although Doll himself has been linked to a past murder and insists on keeping his own identity under wraps, Diana trusts him implicitly, even 10 years after their affair has ended. Diana's belief in Doll and Doll's steadfast faith in her, even though she gives him absolutely no aid in his dogged quest to establish her innocence, keep the reader engrossed. As Doll plays his luck and instinct against well-drawn, gritty characters, Putre captures the barflies who get a buzz on at the Pina Colada, a pirate ship-theme bar, and also evokes the atmosphere of third-rate motels, a sprawling car dealership and the posh oceanfront, high rise apartment that is the murder locale. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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