cover image Devil on My Doorstep

Devil on My Doorstep

Stuart M. Kaminsky. Forge, $22.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-312-86444-6

Jim Rockford returns with his trusty Firebird, without his deceased father and with Angel, his con man pal, in a loose and lively second adventure (after The Green Bottle). Jim's trashy beachfront trailer home becomes a safe haven for Melisa Conforti, the teenage daughter of Jim's former lover Rene. Melisa shows Jim a letter, signed by Rene, that indicates Melisa is his daughter. Jim, having recently lost his beloved father, Rocky, is inclined to believe her. Melisa is in trouble. Rene and her husband, Michael, were hiding out, protected by federal agents after witnessing a mob murder. The first 30 pages or so move gently as Kaminsky works to establish the easy rhythmic mayhem of Rockford's life. Then Rene is killed, the feds seize Melisa, and a poetry-loving hit man named Wright enters the picture. Rene and Michael aren't who they say they are; the feds may not be on the level; Jim comes a little too close to working for the mob; and dead bodies keep turning up in car trunks. All this keeps Jim away from Angel's side, as his good buddy manages to set himself up as a portrait painter of Spanish extraction and great fame. As with all Angel scams, this artist pose has a decidedly limited shelf life. Edgar Award winner Kaminsky (author of the Toby Peters series, the Abe Lieberman series and the series starring Russian Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov) is a stellar talent and shows great skill in creating a carefully updated version of the much-loved TV PI. (Mar.)