The Love Song of J. Edgar Hoover

Kinky Friedman, Author Simon & Schuster $23 (240p) ISBN 978-0-684-80377-7
Gonzo crime writer and former country singer Friedman's rambling ninth book (God Bless John Wayne) featuring ornery, cigar-munching, amateur sleuth Kinky Friedman brims with political paranoia and male bonding. The Kinkster is rescued from melancholia when mysterious, slinky Polly Price visits his West Village loft in Manhattan and, ""rising out of the fog like a pirate ship,"" hires him to locate her missing husband, a well-heeled New York lawyer. While sorting through the man's legal and financial affairs, Kinky is sidetracked by his distressed buddy Michael McGovern (a member of Kinky's entourage, The Village Irregulars), who claims he's being shadowed by government agents. McGovern also says he's getting calls from a long-deceased man named Leaning Jesus who used to be Al Capone's chef and may or may not have left McGovern clues to the mobster's buried treasure. The lawyer quest leads Kinky into a sequence of deadly setups (he is framed with a suitcase full of cocaine, shot in the arm by the police and trapped in a flaming limousine in Chicago) before he begins to realize that that case was a pretext meant to prevent him from rescuing McGovern from an FBI sting. Distracting digressions, wacky nostalgia trips, remarkably bad puns and Kinky's miasmic self-absorption blur the finer points of the story line. But by his own admission, the Kinkster is a hapless gum-shoe, relying on Sherlock Holmes stories and sleuthing mentor, Rambam, to unravel a case that's built on plenty of unlikely twists and revelations. 100,000 first printing; QPB alternate; author tour. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
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