If Ferrigno's first novel, The Horse Latitudes, hadn't been so memorable, maybe his second wouldn't seem so marginal. Set like its best-selling predecessor on the mean freeways of Southern California, the thriller gets off to a suspenseful enough start as a burned-out former investigative reporter named Quinn finds himself questioning the suspicious death of a friend. But the characters, including a vicious ex—football player with a weakness for the Home Shopping Network, quickly turn cartoonish, and the plot careens between mayhem and mawkishness.
This time around there's little of either the moral resonance or comic flair that distinguished Ferrigno's debut. Unfortunately the best thing about Cheshire Moon is that within a half hour after you've stopped reading, you're likely to have forgotten it. (Morrow, $19.50)