Aspiring novelist and sometime investigator Taggart Roper, seen before in The Next Victim , finds out that it's not the mob that's been threatening the owner of the Flying Tiger Club, former jazz great, one-armed Hondo Loomis. The question of who is responsible looms more important after the body of a cheap ex-con is found in the dumpster behind the club, located on the ``ghost road'' of Route 66 near Tulsa, Okla. Next, Roper learns that the dead man boasted of stashing a significant amount of cash near the Flying Tiger, which sports on its roof a vintage WW II Curtiss P-40, its nose painted to resemble a shark's jaw. The local crime boss, an unsavory Tulsa police officer, a teenaged arsonist and representatives of various unidentified government agencies figure in the action that leads to a nighttime shootout at a salvage yard. The novel's hard-boiled tone is softened by Roper's romance with newspaper reporter Rita Ninekiller, his ongoing attempts to find a publisher and Sanders's deftly deployed sense of humor and irony. (Jan.)
Hondo Loomis, one-armed former piano legend, owns the Flying Tiger nightclub on Route 66 outside Tulsa. Although he thought he'd chased off the Mob when he opened the club, lately he's been the recipient of disconcerting, mildly threatening notes. It's not worth bringing in the cops, and a real private eye would cost too much, so he turns to Tag Roper, onetime investigative reporter turned unsuccessful historical novelist. In short order, a body surfaces in the Tiger dumpster, a local wise guy shows up, and Tag is threatened by a deranged CIA type. The connecting thread is the rumor of a CIA-sponsored drug deal gone bad. The half-million dollars for the deal was ripped off and is said to be hidden somewhere inside the Flying Tiger. The search for the money is at first comic, then deadly. Roper is an endearing hero with a self-deprecating wit and enough courage to get the job done. This second entry in the series is even better than the first--"The Next Victim" --and offers promise of a long and enjoyable relationship between Roper and his fans.