Picks and Pans Review: Metzger's Dog

updated 10/31/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 10/31/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Thomas Perry

The author, an administrator at UCLA, produced a much-praised mystery, The Butcher's Boy, a couple of years ago. This entertaining new novel is a CIA—no, an anti-CIA—thriller. The CIA director and his assistant are stupid. The inventive hero is a free-lance crook with a small cannon and a cat named Dr. Henry Metzger. There are several plots, but the main one involves a blackmail scheme: The hero, out to steal a million in cocaine to impress a Los Angeles thug, happens on a professor's research papers. He takes them, and when the professor is killed by the CIA, the hero knows he has something the agency can't afford to have made public. Using the professor's diabolical plans to disrupt communications in Mexico City, the hero and his friends bring Los Angeles to a halt. There is a lot of violent killing, but Perry treats his complex plot the way a clever juggler does his oranges: Everything seems to float effortlessly. A giant, vicious dog, acquired during a night of hiding in a junkyard, becomes the cat's companion—hence the title. (Scribners, $14.95)

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