MILTON BASS -The Half-Hearted Detective. Vinnie Altobelli #1. Pocket, paperback original, 1993.

   I bought this on the basis of having liked Bass’s quartet of books back in the mid-to-late ’80s about a cop named Benny Freedman. Bad move. In this new series, Vinnie Altobelli is a San Bernardino cop until a heart attack drops him in his tracks, and off the force.

   He’s moping around, afraid to do anything, when a gangster offers to hire him to find out who’s trying to kill him. For a cool million. So off Vinnie goes to the family manse with the mobster, and finds himself in the middle of an Italian family straight out of The Godfather.

   I never got into this one. I lost patience early with Vinnie’s pill-popping and wimping about his heart, and there was nothing in the plot, characterization, or writing to keep me involved. I didn’t believe in the people, I didn’t believe the story, and frankly, Scarlett, I didn’t give a damn.

— Reprinted from Ah Sweet Mysteries #6, March 1993.

Bibliographic Note:  This book was followed by one additional outing for Vinnie Altobelli, The Broken-Hearted Detective (Pocket, 1994).