cover image They Don't Play Stickball in Milwaukee

They Don't Play Stickball in Milwaukee

Reed Farrel Coleman. Permanent Press (NY), $24 (208pp) ISBN 978-1-877946-95-0

On the trail of a missing nephew, Dylan Klein, a former insurance investigator who's now a noir novelist, finds himself on the campus of an upstate New York college engaged in some highly inventive sex with Kira Watanabe, a Japanese girl half his age, who seems determined to re-create a steamy chapter from one of Klein's own books. He ought to be a happy man. But his nephew Zak is still missing, and the girl might just be a high-priced whore hired to watch Klein by the drug dealers on whom Zak claims to have a computer disc full of information. The novel provides Klein with a fuller sex life than is granted most tired-out 40-year-olds, the narrative pace never lets up and the caper has plenty of unusual angles. Johnny MacClough is Klein's best pal, a former cop once disgraced by a questionable arrest and subsequent death. Valencia Jones is a young student arrested for possession of a designer drug. It's her plight that sends Zak into hiding. A drugged-out ski bum is murdered on a ski slope owned by the college, the dean of which takes a very dim view of Klein's sleuthing efforts. This is Coleman's third Klein caper (Life Goes Sleeping and Little Easter), and, allowing for the florid bed scenes and a singularly unconvincing moment when Klein gets sloshed and questions his love for the alluring Kira, it's an exceedingly handsome effort. (Dec.)