cover image Deep Freeze

Deep Freeze

Sean Hanlon. Pocket Books, $3.99 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-671-70731-6

Hanlon's ( The Frozen Franklin ) mystery of American politicans and Chinese Triads features compelling scenarios but is hampered by details that ring false. Prester John Riordan, an impulsive former newsman, handles PR for the Speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives in Juneau. The Speaker, a Democrat, naturally wants his party to win an upcoming race for lieutenant governor but hopes to exploit the Republicans' profitable ties to Asian trade. Thus he appoints Riordan to a special committee on Asian trade in order to benefit a rather weak Republican contender (so the strong Democratic candidate can win). Through his work on the committee, Riordan investigates a shady section of the port town rife with prostitution and financed by Asian druglords; when the Republican candidate is murdered, it stands to reason that heroin dealers are somehow to blame. However, the crime is pinned on a 12-year-old black named M. C. Hop. Righteous-but-foolhardy Riordan battles for justice, taking angry, unappreciative rap-star-wannabe Hop under his wing and standing up to a Triad gangster who calls himself ``Mr. Bigs.'' This tale provides credible insider looks at government corruption but falters when it feeds readers generic doses of urban reality and non-white vernaculars. (Aug.)