cover image Peeper


Loren D. Estleman, Loren D. Estelman. Bantam Books, $16.95 (215pp) ISBN 978-0-553-05363-0

Estleman, arguably the finest practitioner of hard-boiled private eye fiction with his Amos Walker novels, shifts gears in this latest offering. The setting is still Detroit, but readers expecting the usual tight, tough adventure are in for a surprise. Estleman tries for humor here, but he does not bring it off. Ralph Poteet is about as sleazy as PIs get, and when the hooker upstairs awakens him in the middle of the night because she's got a dead Monsignor in her bed, he sees dollar signs flashing. However, Bishop Steelcase, Ralph's intended blackmailee, proves to be no ordinary cleric, and his mysterious assistant, Carpenter, is something other than an everyday servant of the Lord. Soon there are more dead bodies for Poteet to contend with, and both the police and a killer are looking for him. A beautiful young woman with an inexplicable lust for his body also shows up and keeps him thoroughly exhausted. The humor is broad, the story silly; the usually reliable writer disappoints this time out. (Oct.)