cover image Bloody River Blues

Bloody River Blues

Jeffery Deaver, William Jefferies. Avon Books, $4.5 (266pp) ISBN 978-0-380-76670-3

Movie location scout John Pellam is working in Maddox, Mo., when he goes out for a case of beer. This innocuous outing lands him in big trouble when his beer collides with the door of a parked car whose occupants subsequently commit a rubout. Next thing he knows, Pellam finds himself being pursued by the killers, who fear Pellam can identify them; by the local police, because a cop was shot during the rub-out; and by the FBI, who think the murder was related to a racketeering case. Vincent Gaudia, the man who was killed, had turned witness against his boss, Peter Crimmins, who is wanted on RICO charges. The official bag of tricks used by the feds and police against Pellam includes interrogation, threats of prosecution on false charges, disruption of Pellam's life and business and hints that the film he's working on could be shut down. Jefferies ( Shallow Graves ) adds a twist that gives Pellam the last laugh while he makes his point about the baseness of the so-called good guys. Although the book works technically, reading a tale so replete with unpleasantness is still no picnic. (July)