In the Skulls of Sedona, Tony Kozol, who once was a lawyer before the previous book about him, is now working as a musician. He has been asked by an old college chum, whom he hasn't seen for years, to come from his home in Florida to a New Age convention in Sedona, Ariz., to help with the musical entertainment.
Kozol doesn't know much about New Age, but after meeting a few of the people attending, he decides he's landed in a nest of weirdos. The main attractions at the convention are the crystal skulls, Magdalena and Azultican, who are supposed to have great power and are leftovers from an ancient and superior race who have been sent to earth at this time to help enlighten the present inhabitants.
I've never quite understood this New Age bit myself, but I do know they like crystals. Well, I like them too prisms but only for making rainbows in my house when the sun shines on them.
As always, with J.R. Ripley's work, this book is fund to read. Maybe it's because he always seems to write with a sort of tongue-in-cheek attitude.
There's only one criticism I have, and I think if it had been corrected it would have strengthened the book. That is the policewoman, the character, Det. Gibson, who is certainly overdone. She is objectionable with her filthy, vulgar, ignorant talk. She comes across as a punk teenage boy speaking filthy language, trying to show how much of a man he is. For one as good at characterization as is Ripley, he stubbed his toe on this character.
In his sexual exploits, Kozol comes across as a macho man, par for the course in today's fiction writing. Are there any readers out there who still long for finesse and subtlety in lovemaking? A writing friend tells me "no," but I differ and think sur ely there are some who long for those days and hope for their early return. Too much porn (corn?) smacks of the barnyard, and so often it's not even necessary to the story.
This type of murder story is not usually my choice, but I like J.R. Ripley's work. He has that touch of the bizarre, the outre, the silly, yet there seems to be some common sense behind it. It's always entertaining reading and one can't help liking his hero, Tony Kozol. He is a sort of Everyman. You know he is going to get in big trouble before the story spins out.
You'll enjoy this book.
In J.R. Ripley's second Tony Kozol mystery, Skulls of Sedona, the down-and-out ex-attorney and ex- restauranteur, now a struggling guitarist and amateur sleuth, finds himself accused of murder, again. Hired by an old college buddy to play at a New Age conference in Sedona, Ariz., Kozol immediately faces a string of bad luck: his baggage is lost, his rental car breaks down, a dead rat is planted in his bathroom and his friend is grotesquely murdered the same night a pair of valuable crystal skulls are stolen. Lured by two beautiful, dangerous women and surrounded by cutthroat New Ageists, Kozol must rely on his wits to get him out of this new tangle. Despite the supporting characters' one-dimensional personalities, readers will enjoy Ripley's sharp dialogue, which keeps the novel speeding along at a pleasant clip.
. . . wry commentary on the fads of the day, and . . . amateur sleuthing in a grab bag of fun and excitement.
Non-practicing Florida attorney Tony Kozol (Stiff in the Freezer) hopes to earn some much-needed cash by playing his guitar at an Arizona New Age conference. Spirit-induced music, mediums, fortune-telling, and ancient, alien-enhanced crystal skulls aside, Tony finds his credibility challenged by the murder of the spacey former college roommate who invited him there. He can't make up his mind who killed his friend--the rejected one-time lover, the jealous rival, the married-but-promiscuous hot-tub masseuse, or a host of others. Wacky characters, liquid prose, frequent humor, and a decidedly light plot place this in the fun, breeze-to-read category. Readers who enjoyed Sharon McCrumb's Bimbos of the Death Sun will also get a kick out of this. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.