cover image A Killing in the Real World

A Killing in the Real World

Chris A. Bohjalian. St. Martin's Press, $15.95 (216pp) ISBN 978-0-312-01781-1

Mystery buffs won't find anyone to care about or much of the ``real world'' in Bohjalian's debut. Hyped-up events start when an upper-class Manhattanite, Penny Nobel and a pimp/drug dealer are murdered in his Greenwich Village apartment. Reunited by the tragedy are Penny's former college roommates Lisa Stone, Christine Yarbrough and Melanie Braverman. Along with the victim's widower Gordon and Lisa's lover, Mark Scher, the women cooperate willingly with homicide detective Heckler (the story's sole likable character) but the case defies solution. Then Lisa narrowly survives an attack by someone who fatally knifes Melanie, and Christine disappears. As advised and consented to by Heckler, Mark takes Lisa to a hideaway in the Catskills where, presumably, she will be safe. And here, the author robs the novel of its last vestige of credibility, exposing the murderer in a trick device that will leave readers fuming. (July)