cover image The Fedorovich File

The Fedorovich File

Ross H. Spencer. Dutton Books, $18.95 (249pp) ISBN 978-1-55611-249-2

Lacey Lockington, the ex-Chicago cop last seen in The Devereaux File is now (1988) a private eye in Youngstown, Ohio, continuing his torrid affair with Natasha Gorky, ex-KGB. A military biographer hires Lacey to find Alexei Fedorovich, American-born Soviet military planner who, the writer insists, has secretly defected and is living in his native Ohio. Fedorovich has recently published a theory that Kremlin hard-liners will lull the West, oust Gorbachev and overrun Europe. Lacey's leads start ending up dead after he has interviewed them; Natasha gets involved, convinced that rival KGB factions are at work. The ending is violent but not surprising, although the reader may not get that far. Despite a certain retro charm (lots of sex, booze and unfiltered cigarettes), Lacey's far-right bent is off-putting: Earl Warren was ``probably'' a Communist agent and Lacey longs for ``a better day'' before drugs swept the country and abortion clinics were ``founded and funded by the U.S. Government.'' Worse are Spencer's tin ear for working-class speech, an elitist attitude toward the proles and the absence of local color in his Youngstown. (Aug.)