The Murderer Vine by Shepard Rifkin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Three college students travel to Mississippi to work for civil rights and don't come back, and it's up to New York private eye Joe Dunne and his assistant to find out what happened to them. And he gets a hundred thousand apiece for killing their murderers...
The Murderer Vine is a fairly good crime tale. You've got deception, murder, some sexual tension, and a shit storm of bullets at the end. The tension between himself and Kirby, whose posing as his wife, is what keeps the story going. It would make a pretty good movie.
Still, it's not all that great. Joe Dunne isn't that different from most detective characters. Since Dunne has a good idea of who killed the students before he leaves New York, there isn't a lot going on on that front. The reader is left waiting for him to get the drop on the murderers. If it wasn't for the ending, I'd probably give this a 2.5 because it was so predictable. The way the Southern dialogue was written got on my nerves after a while. I was glad when Dunne wrapped things up and headed north.
Not a bad read, especially for Hard Case fans. It's an easy three.
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