The Case of the Johannisberg Riesling

Gerry Maddren, Author, Nancy Chirich, Editor Cliffhanger Press $7.95 (191p) ISBN 978-0-912761-11-4
Private detective Jerry Cool wakes up and remembers the previous night's party where, drunkenly, he helped to hide a murder victim and thereby implicated himself in the crime. When, a few days later, a second body is discovered with Jerry's VISA card beside it, he must go underground in San Francisco and solve the double murder to clear himself of charges. Throw in another killing, Cool's attempts to deal with his orphan upbringing and his current romances, and Cool has his work cut out. His investigation takes him to the restaurants, racetracks and bars of San Francisco, and we meet the eccentric members of the family that owns the winery where the dirty deeds took place. In her first novel, Maddren's characterizations, unfortunately, are not striking and do not enhance the mystery. The developments that follow the initial murders seem not so much clever intricacies of crime but detours, and instead of building suspense they too often erode interest in Cool and his case. Like an actor with a bad script, all of Cool's conjecture and investigation only reveal the weakness of the book's plot. (May)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1988
Release date: 12/01/1988
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