This clunky thriller from Levinson (Ask a Dead Man) offers a superficial look at the Los Angeles music industry. Ex-cop Josh Wainwright, who runs a private security firm, has been one of the walking wounded ever since an unknown sniper killed his megastar wife, Katie Sunshine, just as she was about to perform at an L.A. telethon. Wainwright has no doubt that whoever pulled the trigger did so at the behest of Clyde "Mr. Magic" Davenport, an egomaniacal impresario, and is given a golden opportunity to get revenge when Davenport himself hires Wainwright's firm. Ironically, Davenport wants Wainwright to prove him innocent of another murder. Some purple prose ("He wrestled the covers to a draw, paced the bedroom, stared endlessly out the window at a black sky he prayed would open to a light from heaven saving him from the hell of his confusion") and less than startling plot twists make for a routine read. (Mar.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Kirkus Reviews - Kirkus ReviewsIn the latest from Levinson (Ask a Dead Man, 2004, etc.), America's singing sweetheart is gunned down, leaving her ex-cop husband grief-stricken and obsessed. Two and a half years after a hit man put an end to Katie Sunshine's "stellar stardom," Josh Wainwright, former LAPD detective, remains bereft and driven. His life is ruled by a single idea: retribution. He wants the man behind the hit man, the enabler whose identity has always been clear to him. Producer Clyde Davenport was once a rock 'n' roll giant dubbed Mr. Magic because he could take raw, sometimes unpromising, material and transmute it into platinum. But things changed, the magic became fitful, and talent took off for greener pastures. And therein, Josh has convinced himself, lies a motive for murder-in fact, a dozen of them, each attached to one of the names on Clyde Davenport's Ingrates List, among them Katie's. One way or another, Davenport has arranged their deaths, a process Josh believes is ongoing. But Keshawna Keyes, longtime friend and trusted partner, is skeptical. "No proof . . . No proof at all, Joshua," she tells him. Readers may find that a fair point. Stuffed with action, violence, sex, music-business savvy and plot, but not well enough written to be persuasive.
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In the Key of Death based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
I picked up my copy late, not realizing that Levinson had another book out, and I'm very glad I did not miss this one. Now off to buy the next, which is apparently on pre-Order at Amazon but not here. (Per Levinson's website at rslevinson.com it should already be available - I am NOT happy!)
Although he has tried for several years to find proof to substantiate his belief that Golden Age Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Clyde ¿Mr. Magic¿ Davenport killed his beloved wife, noted singer Katie Sunshine, former LAPD Detective Josh Wainwright has failed. Keshawna Keyes, his private investigator partner at International Celebrity Services, has tried to get him to move on, but Josh remains fixated and frustrated. Josh¿s quest gets new life when former star Billy the Kid Palmer commits suicide after a visit from Mr. Magic who magnanimously provides a college trust fund for the son of his deceased former singer. That incident is followed by the murder of Mr. Magic¿s girlfriend Ava Gardner at the music mogul¿s Magic Land estate. The police believe Mr. Magic killed her, but he insists he did not. He hires Josh to protect him and to prove his innocence as he knows the obsessed widower will do anything to affirm his guilt. Now Josh is inside, but as he begins to unravel the truth behind Katie¿s murder, other former performers of Mr. Magic die. --- Although the premise that a music mogul seeks revenge against the acts he turned into stars who dumped him seems a stretch readers will enjoy this private investigative thriller with an excellent late twist. The story line is fast-paced while the adversaries seem real as both are fixated on their respective quest. The scene in which Mr. Magic chats about the future with Billy the Kid is chilling and sets the tone for an entertaining thriller. --- Harriet Klausner