cover image The Book of Numbers

The Book of Numbers

Henry David Thoreau. Pocket Books, $3.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-64526-7

When the headless body of a teenaged Chinese-American model turns up in a L.A. cocaine dealer's bed, ex-vice cop Jimmy Lujack helps track down the killer. A tip leads to a waterfront condominium complex where billionaire U.S. defense contractors and Japanese bankers party with underage models procured by the residence's mob-connected developer. Lujack learns of the dead girl's involvement with a Navy pilot turned corrupt defense consultant who likes rough sex. After Lujack questions him, Lujack's car is exploded by a mysterious bomb. Shaken but determined, Lujack joins forces with his former L.A. police colleagues to stalk a growing number of suspects, including a bank president who has ties to both the Japanese crime syndicate and the U.S. defense establishment. Thoreau's ( The Good Book ) swiftly plotted cops-versus-Asians whodunit is marred by ethnic slurs (``One thing you could always count on with Orientals, they accepted most vices. . . .'') and befuddled dialogue. (Apr.)