Picks and Pans Review: A Case of Lone Star

updated 09/28/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/28/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Kinky Friedman

If a fictional crime solver who wears a West Point sweatshirt and an old sarong from Borneo appeals to you, here's your kind of novel. His seductive costume, he says, is "a heady combination of toughness and sensitivity, so important in today's world." The character, incidentally, bears the same name as his creator. The real Friedman, who gained a measure of fame while writing and singing country tunes with a group called the Texas Jewboys, turned himself into a fictional hero in his first novel, Greenwich Killing Time, published last year. The Lone Star in the title of this sequel is the saloon and nightclub of the same name on lower Fifth Avenue, where country singers have a Manhattan outlet. In this novel, the Lone Star is also the scene of a series of bizarre murders—musicians are killed by a psychopath who has some mysterious link with Hank Williams, the Nashville star. Friedman's patron saints, he claims, include Williams—as well as Anne Frank and Ernie Kovacs. Therefore, he is obliged to solve these crimes. Friedman has a tribe of New York-style friends to help him, but there are also a couple of cops who hate his guts. The conventional mystery plot is nothing more than an excuse for Friedman to deliver one-liners, puns, gratuitous insults, smutty innuendo and X-rated jokes. Sometimes, he's just outrageous. Most of the time, he's outrageously funny. "Where murder is concerned," Friedman discovers, "you had to be a little more analytical about people than you would if you were merely sending out bar mitzvah invitations." (Beech Tree, $14.95)

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