cover image Playing Dead

Playing Dead

R. G. Belsky. Avon Books, $6.5 (345pp) ISBN 978-0-380-79069-2

In Belsky's new thriller (after Loverboy), serial killer Felix the Cat mysteriously summons disgraced reporter Joe Dougherty to hear his deathbed confession: he played only a part of a larger conspiracy. Felix predictably dies before he can name his co-killers (who are still active and at large), leaving Dougherty a list of their victims--two of whom are Joe's long-dead wife and son. Hired back to the New York Banner after being fired for fabricating an article, Joe's passion for reporting is reawakened as he falls for one of the lead suspects. Joe struggles to recover his reporting chops but soon pieces the mystery's clues together. Due to many unlikely plot turns--the biggest stretcher being that even the most tabloid of newspapers would not keep a reporter on a story that involves the death of his family members--Belsky's thriller never really comes to life. (Feb.)