Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dead And Not So Buried-James L. Conway

Dead And Not So Buried

James L. Conway

Camel, Feb 15 2012, $15.95

ISBN: 9781603818667

Someone steals the remains of 1960s Hollywood “It” icon Christine Cole from her gravesite at Westside Cemetery in Brentwood. The funeral director Alex Snyder asks to see former cop Gideon Kincaid. When the private investigator arrives he is greeted by a gun. Alex shows a bewildered Gideon the ransom note demanding $2 million in hundred dollar bills to be delivered by Gideon. The sleuth goes to the drop off site only to have the felon hijack his car with the money inside. The thief calls Gideon with the location of his car that contains bones inside the trunk that are not Cole.

A mystery writer, Gideon remembers a novel by TV producer Barry Winslow with the same plot. He visits Winslow who offers no information, but later asks Gideon to see him at his penthouse. He is just outside when Winslow falls from his balcony. Gideon runs upstairs just before two hardnosed cops, his ex wife Stacey Wilson and her partner Piccolo, arrive.

The killer, failed actor Roy Cooper, steals Jennifer the poodle from producer David Hunter. He once again leaves a ransom note but Wilson and Piccolo are involved. The Gravesnatcher, as the killer is called, succeeds due to the police bungling. With his assistant Hilary at his side more bodacious thefts and homicides occur; Gideon believes he and those close to him are on a killer’s vengeance list.

The first Kincaid Hollywood thriller is an entertaining cat and mouse mystery. Gideon is an intriguing protagonist who brings a noir feel to the tale and a fascinating anti relationship with the police. Though some readers might not enjoy knowing the culprit early on, Dead And Not So Buried is a fast-paced, exciting story.

Harriet Klausner

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