cover image Raise the Devil

Raise the Devil

Terence Faherty. Minotaur Books, $23.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-312-26640-0

Scott Elliott, an actor turned private detective, and Ella, his screenwriter wife, are on location for the shooting of Warrior Queen, a historical epic, when starlet Bebe Brooks and Marcus Pioline, the film's director, both perish in a plane crash. Scott feels somewhat guilty since he just returned poor Bebe to the set, rescuing her from the clutches of Johnny Remlinger, a mob hoodlum. This is Faherty's third Elliott tale (after Kill Me Again and Come Back Dead), which like the others is set in the '60s and suitably drenched in movie lore. Unfortunately, in this instance the plot drags, weighed down by the imbalance between an agreeably large cast of characters and shamefully few murder motives. Pioline's former wife, once a leading lady, is relegated to a lesser role in Warrior Queen. His nervous daughter also has a bit part. Bebe's husband, a hard-boozing writer, also has cause for resentment. Johnny isn't exactly saintly, but he claims that Bebe needed him to get her off drugs. There are rumors of affairs and two more deaths occur. The eventual solution relies on an overly used crime novel gambit, and is especially unsatisfying given the uniform excellence of Faherty's other series, which features Oscar Keane and began with the Edgar-nominated Deadstick. For a mystery writer to have more than one series up and running is far from unusual. What is surprising is the wide disparity in quality between Faherty's two. (Oct.)