Flesh and Stone

Mark Miano, Author Kensington Publishing Corporation $18.95 (273p) ISBN 978-1-57566-128-5
For a number of reasons, this book ought to work just fine. There's a plucky and idealistic TV newsman named Michael Carpo who likes gourmet coffee and befriends cold prostitutes on icy New York City nights. He gets a call one night from an art dealer asking for help. The dealer soon turns up dead beneath the frozen water of the reservoir in Central Park. The dead dealer's final love was Carpo's college girlfriend, and it turns out that she figured prominently in the dealer's sometimes dubious claims of artwork authenticity. When some tricky aspects of chronology make it evident that the man who made the call and the chilly corpse aren't one and the same, Miano seems to have a good whodunit cooking. There's even java (the drinking kind) lore aplenty, not to mention some macabre weirdness as Carpo listens to the killer's frightening description of how he killed the dealer--and that he plans similar treatment for Carpo (a fate that might remind readers of the deaths devised for the caped crusader on the old Batman TV show). But a reader's appreciation of all these elements is severely eroded by the fact that the killer is introduced too late in the narrative and, even more so, by the lumpen, uninspired prose of Miano's first novel. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1970
Release date: 02/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 282 pages - 978-1-57566-273-2
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