Suspense: A Stanley Hastings Mystery Novel

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9780892966240: Suspense: A Stanley Hastings Mystery Novel
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While tracking the source of threatening phone calls to bestselling author Kenneth P. Winnington's wife, P.I. Stanley Hastings becomes the prime murder suspect when those threats turn deadly

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Review:

Stanley Hastings, hero of Parnell Hall's novel, Suspense, is not one of those derring-do private eyes, such as Spenser or Mike Hammer--guys who will put their lives on the line for a client. Stanley prefers his cases as unchallenging as possible. So he's understandably reluctant when a bestselling author hires him to find out who's been making threatening phone calls to the writer's wife. Stanley's reluctance turns out to be prescient indeed when the case turns deadly and Stanley stumbles into the role of prime suspect. As if all this weren't bad enough, he's also up to his neck in the shark-infested waters of publishing. Hall has a way with comedy and, in Suspense, he does a fine job of biting the hand that feeds him, wickedly satirizing publicists, editors, agents, and authors even as his hapless hero combs the streets of Manhattan in search of a killer.

From Kirkus Reviews:

``I don't deal in danger,'' Stanley Hastings aptly tells his latest client. But Maxine Winnington, who obviously hasn't seen Stanley's r‚sum‚, hires him anyway to identify the person who's been harassing her with anonymous threatening phone calls. If you expect to see unarmed slip-and-fall specialist Stanley take over as Maxine's bodyguard, think again: His approach to protection is to install Caller ID on her phone and wait to see who calls. Luckily for Stanley, Maxine and her husband, successful suspense novelist Kenneth P. Winnington, have just had their phone number changed to avoid the caller, and when the calls keep coming in, the field of suspects (Kenneth's agent, his editor, his publicist) is awfully narrow. Murder, of course, will winnow the suspects still further, and Stanley--whose name is on slips of paper clutched in the dead folks' hands--will end up in hot water with his nemesis Sgt. Thurman. So far, so appetizing to fans of this rollicking series (Scam, p. 258, etc.). But Stanley's all- too-pointed inquiries into the differences between mystery and suspense novels presage big trouble for the novel he's stuck in, despite his repeated insistence that ``it's not a book.'' The result is a cop-out and a cheat, a mixture of a whodunit with clues that ring hollow and a suspense novel with no suspense. In the words of several prophetic characters with more experience in publishing than Stanley: ``What a weak plot.'' -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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