DON WINSLOW – A Long Walk Up the Water Slide. Neal Carey #4. St. Martin’s Press, hardcover, 1994; paperback, 1998.\\

   I liked the first, why nor check out the fourth? NO reason I could think of.

   There’s no such thing as a typical job for Friends of the Family, but Carey thinks this one is a bit much. He and his lady-love Karen (evidently acquired in an intervening book) are supposed to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

   A woman who has accused a TV personality/network owner of rape is a bit rough around the edges, and a man who is trying to take over the network wants the edges smoothed for sake of credibility. So off they go to a small town in Nevada to start sanding.

   It’s not that simple, of course; there’s a monster involved, and someone has hired a ht man, and there’s an ex-FBI agent and an alcoholic private detective, and they’re all revolving around Neal, Karen, and the lady with the rough edges.

   This was a different sort of book than the first Winslow I read. I wouldn’t say it’s not serious, at least not exactly, but at times that story did seem almost farcical, with everyone moving around frantically à la Mad, Mad, Mad World.

   The smooth, easy voice was still there, but the dissonance between this book and the earlier one bothered me. I didn’t like it nearly so well, and the problem was definitely in the type of story it was. I was eager to read it after reading the first one, but I don’t think I’ll be nearly so avid for the next.

— Reprinted from Ah Sweet Mysteries #18, February-March 1995.