By Gene Lyons
July 28, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT

Dead Man's Dance

C
type
  • Book
Genre

Granted, there may be few writers these days not tempted by Hollywood lucre. But is it hopelessly retrograde to expect a novel to be something other than a screenplay outline? All situations and no characters, Dead Man’s Dance is a second-rate film-noir project waiting to happen. The hero is a ruggedly handsome, two-fisted investigative reporter named Quinn. When his stepfather, Judge Teddy Krammerson, gets whacked on the same night that Joe Staducci, a.k.a. Joe Steps, gets out of prison, Quinn can’t help but notice the coincidence. Except it’s not quite what you’re thinking. Quinn’s mother, see, ran off when he was very young, leaving Teddy and Teddy’s pal Steps to raise him. But after Steps got convicted of killing a bookie, Teddy told Quinn he’d died. Hence, his reappearance on the night of Teddy’s murder makes Quinn, who doesn’t know his real father’s identity, determined to solve both mysteries at the same time. Confused? So’s author Robert Ferrigno, who gives Quinn two quite different memories within a few pages of each other of the last time he saw Teddy alive — a good sign of an author not paying attention. The way this kind of story works, as the world knows, is that Quinn keeps following his hunches right up until the final showdown, then the villain holds him at gunpoint and sneeringly explains the plot for the benefit of the morons who were out in the lobby buying popcorn. ”You’re not going to get away with this,” Quinn warns. (Actual dialogue from Dance.) And in the end, of course, he doesn’t. Roll the credits. C

Dead Man's Dance

type
  • Book
Genre
author
publisher
Complete Coverage
  • Dead Man's Dance
Advertisement

Comments



EDIT POST