Blackmail

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Author: Hall, Parnell

Details: From Booklist New York private eye Stanley Hastings earns the lion's share of his income taking statements in personal-injury suits. Despite misgivings, he takes on a blackmail case. Actually, it starts out as more of a messenger job, since his client, Marlena, just wants him to deliver a package of money to a man who has some pictures. Well, one thing leads to another, and Marlena turns up dead, prompting an NYPD cop to finger Stanley for either withholding information or the murder itself. Soon there's another dead woman and a link to a former porno star married to a cop. With the help of his wife, Alice, Hastings cautiously plods on toward the killer. This ninth entry in the series offers an intelligent, unusual spin on the tough-guy detective, and the dialogue is the best this side of George V. Higgins. Wes Lukowsky Product Description He's not very tough. He's just sharp enough to get by. And he spends most of his time chasing ambulances. But that doesn't mean that Stanley Hastings - Parnell Hall's acclaimed, self-deprecating actor detective - can't find himself face-to-face with a beautiful woman in distress. Distress, as in...BLACKMAIL.She called herself Marlena, and dazzled Hastings with her wide, innocent eyes. But her story was a little less charming. Someone was blackmailing her, she said, but would not say who or why. She simply insisted that Hastings play the part of go-between and deliver the cash.Face-to-face with the blackmailer, Hastings thought the man was overdoing things a bit. Then it got stranger. The photographs Hastings brought back to Marlena were pornographic enough, indeed, but Marlena wasn't in them. And to make matters more baffling, it was only upon his prompting that Marlena insisted Hastings go back again and pay another five thousand dollars for the negatives. It proved a fatal move.Before Hastings could complete the second payoff, two people were dead and the money was missing - vanished, it seemed, amidst the ranks of the good old NYPD. And when Hastings started asking questions about the money and the murders, it got more people killed and Hastings into a deeper hole with a heavy-handed cop named Thurman. Thurman would just as soon see Hastings take the fall for the crimes. Hastings would just as soon solve the case first, if the cops will only let him.Somewhere between a desperate blonde and a seedy underworld of desperate New Yorkers a not-very-tough private eye will have to dodge the cops, listen to his wife's advice, and manage to be just tough enough to untangle a mystery of betrayal and murder. For this is a case that, if all does not go well, might just be Stanley's last... From Publishers Weekly The eight previous titles in Hall's entertaining series about the low-rent sleuthing shenanigans of New York actor/PI Stanley Hastings have steadily broadened Hall's readership. The latest, while no disappointment, isn't likely to propel Hall into the crime fiction big leagues. Seen last treading the boards gingerly in Actor , and before that as a PI chasing cases for liability lawyer Richard Rosenberg, here Hastings is hired on his own. A pretty woman wants him to retrieve some photos with which she is being blackmailed by someone named Barry. Stanley gets the prints, which are high-quality porno shots that don't feature the woman. Before he gets a chance to ask her why she doesn't want the negatives, he finds her dead body. When he finds another, two cops, one smart and one dumb, get on his case. Both victims were actors working a weird sting that makes little sense to anyone; even Hastings's deductions and the smart cop's explanation will challenge the clever reader. Although the characterization here is sharp, the pace brisk and the dialogue snappy, the ornate complexities of the plot detract from the overall impact. Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Library Journal When Stanley Hastings, a Manhattan private investigator, agrees to act

Languages: English

Item Condition: UsedLikeNew

Binding: Hardcover