A Defense for the Dead Review
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This novel is supposed to be a psychological thriller about a Boston lawyer named Jimmy Morrissey who is visited by two FBI agents because his name and address was found on the back of a photograph of a beautiful woman found in a dead serial killer's apartment.

Since Morrissey knows neither the killer nor the woman in the photograph and the FBI doesn't seem to care one way or the other, he embarks on his own investigation which leads him to Provincetown's gay community, where he comes to the conclusion the last victim was killed by another killer. So we are left to plod painfully through this book, enduring the search for clues that go nowhere and Morrissey's sudden convoluted conclusions.

Fredrickson throws in a couple of subplots: Morrissey's wife, Phyllis, is battling cancer but this wonderful, long-suffering woman puts up with her husband running around Provincetown with a transvestite because she knows it's something he just needs to do.

Then we have Morrissey's receptionist, the daffy Taffy, who has boyfriend troubles after hooking up with a guy who answers her personal ad that starts with "Fresh kill, still warm."

Morrissey arranges for a disabled cop-turned-mechanic who has the intelligence of a lug nut to serve a restraining order on the boyfriend. The boyfriend then beats the crap out of Taffy, which results in Taffy loosing an eye. Morrissey offers his "girl Friday" these comforting words as she lies in the hospital: "If I ever go on television, I can feature you in one of my personal injury ads." Touching.

There are some attempts at humor. The very first line of the book reads: Jimmy Morrissey looked like a million bucks-in crumpled tens and twenties. A few pages in we are treated to a "joke" about consensual relations with sheep.

By the end of the book, Morrissey himself becomes an accessory to murder and decides he needs to "do the next right thing, whatever that was."

Well, what is it? And what happens? Does Morrissey go to jail? And what of the sainted Phyllis? Does she die? What about Taffy? Last we hear from Taffy she is making jokes about getting different color glass eyes to coordinate with her wacky outfits. Wait - are we left hanging intentionally, anxiously awaiting a sequel? I hope not.

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