Stanley Hastings, hero of Parnell Hall's novel,Suspense, is not one of those derring-do private eyes, such as Spenser or Mike Hammer--guys who will put their lives on the line for a client. Stanley prefers his cases as unchallenging as possible. So he's understandably reluctant when a bestselling author hires him to find out who's been making threatening phone calls to the writer's wife. Stanley's reluctance turns out to be prescient indeed when the case turns deadly and Stanley stumbles into the role of prime suspect. As if all this weren't bad enough, he's also up to his neck in the shark-infested waters of publishing. Hall has a way with comedy and, inSuspense, he does a fine job of biting the hand that feeds him, wickedly satirizing publicists, editors, agents, and authors even as his hapless hero combs the streets of Manhattan in search of a killer.
Parnell Hall's 13th comic novel about Stanley Hastings proves lucky for the author but unlucky for the accident investigator with a family to support. Hired by the wife of best-selling suspense novelist Kenneth P. Winnington to discover the identify of a crank caller, Hastings moves among the habitues of the publishing world, interviewing Winnington's agent, publicist, and two editors, one of whom rewrote his first book into a best-seller before being fired. But two interviews lead directly to two … more