cover image The Fifth Script

The Fifth Script

Ross H. Spencer. Dutton Books, $17.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-55611-132-7

Spencer's latest is lumpy, burdened by supposedly funny gibes at fat ladies, and interminable. The central figure, Lacy Lockington, is a cop suspended from the force in Chicago when columnist ``Stella Starbright'' dubs him a kill-crazy officer, more dangerous than the crooks he shoots. Approached by Duke Denny, a private detective, Lockington agrees to replace Moose Katzenbach, who is quitting Denny's agency. Thus the off-duty policeman meets Stella S., his nemesis, aka Erika Elwood. Begging his pardon and his help, Elwood says she is marked for murder by the people who have killed her predecessors on the newspaper. Lockington becomes her bodyguard and bed partner. She is but one of many women eager for sex with the putative hero, whose libido is equaled only by his thirst for booze. Given the man's usual state, it is remarkable that he can follow the circuitous path of this sleazy mystery by the author of Death Wore Gloves. (Apr.)