cover image Trial: A Stanley Hastings Mystery Novel

Trial: A Stanley Hastings Mystery Novel

Parnell Hall, Pernell Hall. Mysterious Press, $21.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-89296-570-0

The low-rent tribulations of N.Y.C. PI Stanley Hastings (Actor, Blackmail, Movie, etc.) once fueled a bunch of enjoyable light crime yarns as Stanley cased out ill-lit stairways and injured clients for his shark-like, ambulance-chasing litigator boss, Richard Rosenberg. Now, after some darker detours in which the cases got nastier and Stanley's thespian aspirations were mistakenly given center stage, Parnell makes a partial recovery. This time the monster-egoed Rosenberg is defending a man accused of murdering his wife. Anson Carbinder has six buddies who will swear he won the biggest pot in a poker session the night of the murder. But he also has a busty bimbo in tow, and a brand-new insurance policy on his wife. Rosenberg is naturally determined to preserve the integrity of the alibi. But the complexities of the game make Stanley curious and a little uneasy, especially when one of the poker players suddenly gets scared-and then dead. This latest outing moves at a smart clip and nicely balances the convolutions of the alibi with a lot of very sharp turns in the courtroom. (Feb.)