Friday, November 14, 2008

Spider Season-John Morgan Wilson

Spider Season
John Morgan Wilson
St. Martin's, Dec 2008, $24.95
ISBN 9780312341480

Benjamin Justice was revered as a fine journalist who deservedly won a Pulitzer for his articles on nursing his lover who was dying from AIDS. When it was substantiated that Ben fabricated his story, he became despised, black balled and the only person forced to return a Pulitzer. He changed careers solving mysteries instead of writing articles, but the disgraced former West Hollywood reporter publishes a memoir.

Ben is shocked that two people, former marine Lance and middle age arachnid aficionado Jason, neither whom he knows, seem to want to beat the crap out of him since his memoir went public. Not one to sit idly by, Ben decides to make inquiries into the two radically different males who want a piece of him so that he can find what in his book stirred their testosterone. However, they are not his biggest problem; unprincipled reporter Cathryn knows Ben did not uncover all his scandalous muck; she investigates him so she can pile more dirt on him and more fame on her.

The latest Benjamin Justice thriller (see RHAPSODY IN BLOOD and THE LIMITS OF JUSTICE) is a solid entry as the hero continues his self flogging behavior that only leads to more trouble. He still has not been able to move on beyond his fifteen minutes of shame as if he wears the Scarlet Letter L on his face though almost two decades have past. His inquiries into Lance and Jason is fascinating and well done, but also somewhat slow paced especially while rotating between investigating his two antagonists and his real enemy Cathryn. Still this is a fine tale as the disgraced lead character struggles with learning why the two men are after him and keeping further dirt interred.

Harriet Klausner