DAVID DANIEL – The Skelly Man. Alex Rasmussen #2. St. Martin’s, hardcover, 1995. No paperback edition.

   I thought Daniel’s The Heaven Stone, winner of St. Martin’s 1993 Best First Pl Novel contest, wasn’t really of award quality, though it wasn’t actually bad. I got a copy of this when it came out, but just now got around to it.

   A famous homeboy, the king of late night TV, is returning to Lowell, Massachusetts, and may be bringing trouble with him.. He’s coming to town to kick off a proposed new show, but not everyone’s thrilled. He’s been receiving cryptic threatening messages, and he wants PI Alex Rasmussen to find out who and why, and stop them. The answer is somewhere in the man’s past, but where? And can it be found in time?

   I closed the review of Daniel’s first book with this:  “… but I guess the main problem was that it’s the same old recipe, and the ingredients weren’t special enough to make the end product anything really out of the ordinary.”

   The same could literally be said of this one, but while the earlier review was mostly damning with faint praise, I liked this book somewhat better. It still isn’t anything really exceptional, but it is solid genre fiction. with a decent lead, good first-person prose and narrative, nice sense of place and an adequate plot.

   Bigger names among PI writers haven’t always done that well these last few years.

— Reprinted from Ah Sweet Mysteries #25, May 1996.

      The Alex Rasmussen series —

1. The Heaven Stone (1994)
2. The Skelly Man (1995)
3. Goofy Foot (2004)
4. The Marble Kite (2005)