Picks and Pans Review: Murder on Tour: a Rock-N-Roll Mystery

updated 03/20/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/20/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Dick Clark with Paul Francis

It is 1978. Our hero, a very soft-boiled detective, is a one-hit wonder rock star who, after a precipitous drug burnout, drifted into journalism. He turns sleuth after the people in and around a new rock band he is covering for his magazine begin getting bumped off. If that premise seems contrived, wait until you read the spectacularly unlikely way it is treated by perennial TV cherub Dick Clark. The characters aren't drawn; they're finger painted. The dialogue is stilted, and the solution to the mystery is soon glaringly apparent. The book's most annoying trait is the way clunky pop-music references are dropped into the text from a great height. Here are a few: "But, as David Bowie might say, there turned out to be some 'ch-ch-ch-changes' instead." "The road manager's face burned crimson and clover, then turned a whiter shade of pale..." "I didn't need Creedence Clearwater to tell me there was a bad moon rising." Then again, if it wasn't for the gratuitous music references, you couldn't distinguish this book from a script for a vapid episode of Murder, She Wrote. Next time, Mr. Clark should involve himself in something he knows more about. How about a sugar-coated remake of The Picture of Dorian Gray with all the evil taken out? (Mysterious Press, $16.95)

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