cover image Phantom Angel

Phantom Angel

David Handler. Minotaur, $24.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-250-05973-4

The world of Broadway provides the backdrop for Handler’s effervescent second Benji Golden mystery (after 2013’s Runaway Man). The biggest of big producers, Morrie Frankel, has need of Benji’s firm, Golden Legal Services, founded by his former-police-detective father and former-pole-dancer mother. Morrie is desperate to find his billionaire angel (that’s Broadway for backer) for his troubled musical version of Wuthering Heights. Benji’s only hope is to locate the angel’s supposed girlfriend, a sweet, naïve Louisiana runaway, one Jonquil “Boso” Beausoleil. The madras-shorts–clad, Ethel Merman–loving, 20-something Benji is a most unlikely sleuth, but he’s a smart one, and he’s surrounded by a slew of flesh-and-blood New Yorkers, ranging from a sexy gossip monger to a tender, handsome urban farmer. With pitch-perfect dialogue that’s often hilarious (especially the running joke about Alvin and the Chipmunks) leading up to Benji’s Sherlock moment of a reveal, this entry is a wacky delight. Agent: Dominick Abel, Dominick Abel Literary Agency. (Feb.)