cover image Girl Can’t Help It: A Krista Larson Mystery

Girl Can’t Help It: A Krista Larson Mystery

Max Allan Collins. Thomas & Mercer, $15.95 trade paper (282p) ISBN 978-1-5420-4253-6

When Hot Rod and the Pistons, an ’80s rock cover band, learn they will be inducted into the Iowa Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame in MWA Grand Master Collins’s unimpressive sequel to 2019’s Girl Most Likely, a reunion concert is scheduled in Galena, Ill. The Pistons reunion provides an old follower a chance to exact revenge for something terrible the band did to her back in 1984—something a Piston captured on film. Angel Baby, as she was nicknamed back in the day, parties with one of the band members after the show and poisons him with an untraceable drug. She then steals his copy of the tape and makes the death look like a suicide. But as Angel Baby continues to poison the band members one by one, Galena police chief Krista Larson becomes suspicious and decides to enlist the aid of her retired police detective father, who used to be the band’s roadie. Though the killings are staged skillfully enough, the dull characters (including Krista), endless references to rock history, and bland prose combine to flatline the story. By the time the action picks up late in the book, readers will have already tuned out. Collins’s fans can take a pass on this one. [em]Agent: Dominick Abel, Dominick Abel Literary. (Mar.) [/em]