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When the most hated landlord in San Francisco takes an unexpected jump off the roof of his own building, it isnat too hard to find suspects. But the police want to call it a suicide, since both the Mayor and press are complaining about the dismal closure rate for homicide investigations. Call it a suicide and no one has to solve the case.
But ex-cop Sam McGowan knows it was murder. He also knows that anyone living on the top floor of the building should be a suspect, including himself. So Sam decides to get to know his neighbors:
A lonely jazz singer more than willing to confess to any crime, past or present;
Two young women paying for graduate school by operating a website that reveals a lot more than their SAT scores;
The B-movie producer with a swollen prostate and shrinking bank balance;
And the brothers at the end of the hall, who just quit their day jobs to sell marijuana for the Mexican mob.
The only thing they have in common is a general agree-ment that their dead landlord got what he deservedóand that one of them is probably responsible. As more bodies surface and alliances shift, Sam finds himself jumping back and forth between his old life as a cop and his new one as a murder suspect, unable to decide where he really belongs.
Former San Francisco homicide detective Sam McGowan sees his plans for a peaceful early retirement go out the window around the same time as his despicable landlord, setting in motion the Rube Goldberg works of this wacky stand-alone from Maleeny, author of 2007's Stealing the Dragon and two other Cape Weathers investigations. Guilted into unofficial sleuthing by his ex-partner, who's the cop probing the fatal plunge, Sam quickly discovers no dearth of suspects among his quirky neighbors on the 20th floor and a hotbed of criminal activity. Between the slacker brothers whose sandwich business serves as a distribution network for a Mexican drug lord, the two glamazons putting themselves through school with X-rated activities, a mysterious torch singer and the B-movie director who may be a blackmailer, we're firmly on darkly comic terra Hiaasen. Fast-paced and funny, this is a perfectly blended cocktail of escapism, with or without the beach towel.