cover image Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary

Gabrielle Kraft. Pocket Books, $3.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-66941-6

High-living Beverly Hills lawyer Jerry Zalman gets a surprise phone call from his 13-year-old nephew--the boy's girlfriend, Brenda, has a nasty habit of stealing, and she has absconded with a valuable medallion, presumably a Picasso. No sooner does Zalman return the piece to its owner Happy Henke, a crass but successful jeweler, than robbers burst into L.A.'s choicest eatery, kill Henke, and make off with the medallion. Henke, the lawyer later discovers, is Brenda's father. Now plagued by people wanting his legal advice, including the jeweler's scheming widow, Zalman helps detectives search for the missing booty. Kraft's disjointed tale is rife with cliches about Hollywood ostentation and sexual hanky-panky, and there is a barely developed subplot involving Zalman's efforts to have a screenplay made into a film. The protagonists lack depth and the story is without suspense. Readers will quickly tire of its tasteless jokes (``she looked like a pale southern-fried version of Lady Macbeth'') and the gratuitous gore (``Henke's brains and blood were soaking into the caviar''). Kraft wrote Screwdriver. (July)