cover image Bird Lives!

Bird Lives!

Bill Moody. Walker & Company, $22.95 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-8027-3327-6

Jazz pianist Evan Horne improvises with the FBI in his latest after-hours murder investigation (following The Sound of the Trumpet). When a popular ""smooth jazz"" saxophone player is fatally stabbed in Horne's Southern Californian town, the piano man is called in by his best pal, Santa Monica homicide detective Danny Cooper, to decipher the clues left at the concert-hall crime scene, including the phrase ""Bird Lives!"" scrawled in blood on the dead man's dressing-room mirror. Soon it's revealed that two other fusion jazz musicians--a guitarist and a piano player--have recently been murdered in New York City, and Horne helps move the case forward by figuring out the significance of the dates on which the three deaths occurred and of the music playing at each death scene. But his increasing involvement in the investigation begins to undermine both his new recording contract and his relationship with a long-time girlfriend, while opening up romantic possibilities with FBI Special Agent Andrea Lawrence. Although well-played, Moody's plot is less than compelling because it moves along predictable lines. The jazz esoterica and the unusual serial killer, however, should keep Evan Horne fans reading, and they will be pleased to see that the piano player has finally recovered from his hand injury. Agent, Philip J. Spitzer Agency. (June)