Prancing Tiger: A Thriller

Philip Singerman, Author William Morrow & Company $20 (396p) ISBN 978-0-688-13049-7
The title of Singerman's exciting first novel refers to the ancient Asian brotherhood to which its crime-busting hero, Roland Troy, belongs-and that's not the book's only strong echo of Eric Van Lustbader and Richard LaPlante. Also familiar is the linking of violence and sex-the first sex scene has a woman performing mock fellatio on a gun-and, thankfully, a slew of strong characters, beginning with likable martial-arts expert (and former CIA agent and homicide cop) Troy, who, in his early 50s, is intriguingly old for an action hero. The villain, Asian crime lord Chotoku Nakama, is also notable, despite some Fu Manchu-like attributes, as are figures ranging from the Florida senator and the presidential hopeful in Nakama's pocket to imprisoned dope dealers and an emotionally disturbed lesbian newspaper editor. The plot, which hinges on a series of intricate flashbacks, grips as it unspools to answer the question: Who killed hotshot radio host Nikki Waters? In order to exonerate the son of a long-lost love, Troy must find out. Coincidence plays too large a role in the case, but clever misdirection keeps the murderer's identity secret until the final pages of this multilayered, satisfying tale (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/28/1994
Release date: 12/01/1994
Mass Market Paperbound - 10 pages - 978-0-8041-1428-8
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