cover image Puss in Boots

Puss in Boots

Ed McBain. Henry Holt & Company, $15.95 (248pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-0371-0

A Mystery Writers of America Grand Master, author of the bestselling 87th Precinct thrillers, McBain presents a gory new fairy tale in the style of his previous Goldilocks and Cinderella. In Calusa, Fla., Carlton Markham is accused of killing his wife Prudence, who was fatally stabbed after completing a porn film that has vanished along with its producer. Determined to prove his client innocent, attorney Matthew Hope concentrates on tracing the female rumored to play the film's starring sexual acrobat. Switching from the lawyer's perspective, the narrative shifts to the abandoned building where the killer has taken the stolen movie and his captive, the actress ""Puss in Boots.'' Gradually, Hope draws closer to the maniac's lair and perhaps closer to his own death as multiple horrors accumulate. McBain's artistry is undeniable in this expose of ``adult entertainment.'' But his seventh dreadful borrowing from fantasy is an extreme test of the reader's nerves and stomach. Mystery Guild main selection; Literary Guild alternate. (July 1)