Bloody River Blues: A Location Scout Mystery

Bloody River Blues: A Location Scout Mystery

While scouting out film locations for a "Bonnie and Clyde" style film, former Hollywood insider John Pellam finds himself neck-deep in a plot more lurid than any film. Original. Review

John Pellam, scouting locations for a new film in a small town in Missouri, inadvertently witnesses a double homicide and some serious gunplay that left a cop paralyzed. He didn't see the guy who ordered the killings, but the police don't believe him. The U.S. attorney who thinks he knows who was behind the murders has bet his career on Pellam's identification of a criminal the feds have been trying to nail for years. They'll do anything to get Pellam's cooperation, including threatening his new girlfriend, shutting down the movie, and keeping Pellam from inking a deal to get his own film made. That project is Pellam's ticket back to the top of the heap in Hollywood, a perch he fell off of when he supplied the drugs that killed his best friend. The cops want Pellam's testimony, the mob boss wants him permanently silenced, and the film's director wants him to finish the job he's been paid to do. But first Pellam has to find his way out of the traps they've all set for him, and he does it with style, wit, and a self-deprecating charm that makes him a hero to everyone--well, almost everyone.

William Jefferies, who usually writes under the better-known nom de plume of Jeffery Deaver, has a couple of other Location Scout mysteries to his name (Shallow Graves, Hell's Kitchen). Pocket Books has reissued them as Deaver titles ("writing as William Jefferies"), but regardless of their provenance, they feature topnotch writing, snappy dialogue, solid pacing, and excellent characterization. Bloody River Blues was overlooked by Deaver's fans when it first came out eight years ago. Now that the publisher has cleared up the mystery of who actually wrote it, it ought to get the attention it deserves. --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

Movie location scout John Pellam is working in Maddox, Mo., when he goes out for a case of beer. This innocuous outing lands him in big trouble when his beer collides with the door of a parked car whose occupants subsequently commit a rubout. Next thing he knows, Pellam finds himself being pursued by the killers, who fear Pellam can identify them; by the local police, because a cop was shot during the rub-out; and by the FBI, who think the murder was related to a racketeering case. Vincent Gaudia, the man who was killed, had turned witness against his boss, Peter Crimmins, who is wanted on RICO charges. The official bag of tricks used by the feds and police against Pellam includes interrogation, threats of prosecution on false charges, disruption of Pellam's life and business and hints that the film he's working on could be shut down. Jefferies ( Shallow Graves ) adds a twist that gives Pellam the last laugh while he makes his point about the baseness of the so-called good guys. Although the book works technically, reading a tale so replete with unpleasantness is still no picnic.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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