When Midori, a part-time hooker, vanishes from a New Haven motel into the night after stabbing a customer through the neck with a sharp pencil (he'd been praying for her salvation while trying to kill her), cop William Shute takes the case in this fast-paced noir caper from Bechard (Balls, etc.). The dead guy is Richard Deegan, family man and second in command of the Sons of God, a group of southern-based fundamentalists with strict morals and deep pockets due shortly to rally in the Connecticut city. When another Son of God gets similarly dispatched, the powers that be start looking for a serial killer. But Shute isn't so sure. For one thing, Deegan had an unhealthy interest in pornography, a hatred for hookers and—most upsetting personally—images of Shute's former wife on his laptop's hard drive with a bewildering series of sexual partners. A loose cannon in trouble with his superiors, Shute is haunted by his '53 Fender Telecaster (the first year of the legendary guitar's production), an object that represents all his adolescent dreams. The author, a screenwriter and independent director, seems to be offering more existentialist fare than standard loner shamus material, but he never fully delivers all the noir angles. Nonetheless, the suspense level remains high to the end, as Shute, suspended from the force, attracted to a female cop but entangled with one of the likable and believable hookers he encounters in the escort industry, strives to find all the answers. Agent, Matthew Bialer. (Jan. 14)
Forecast:Blurbs from Andrew Klavan, Barbara D'Amato and Jonathan Rabb should help, along with support from fans of Bechard's cult-classic film, Psychos in Love (1987).
Release date: 01/01/2002