TV commercial actor and plant aficionado Joe Portugal, having discovered the mutilated body of his close friend and fellow Culver City Cactus Club member Brenda Belinski, decides to test his mettle as an amateur sleuth. Assisted by his best friend, interior designer and computer whiz Gina Vela, Portugal begins interviewing a long list of suspected killers, including Brenda's hot-tempered ex, an international plant smuggler and a lovesick wanna-be botanistAall of whom demonstrate debut novelist Walpow's penchant for eccentric characters. When another member of the CCCC turns up dead under equally bizarre circumstances, Portugal fears he may be next on the list. Soon he is fending off a well-dressed Italian, hired by his ex-con father, who's been blatantly tailing him; questions from overworked police officers; and an attack exploiting his terror of wasps. While some readers may tire of the author's gimmicky, if initially amusing, indulgence in weirdness, Walpow keeps the unlikely assassin effectively under wraps until the end.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Nathan Walpow has been collecting cacti and other succulent plants for over twenty years and has over 400 specimens in his collection. He is the president of the Sunset Succulent Society, located in Los Angeles. In 1997 his short story "This Bud's for You" was the first fiction ever to appear in the Cactus and Succulent Journal, the publication of the Cactus and Succulent Society of America.
Nathan has been writing since 1992. Before that, he had ten years of experience as an actor, working on the stage and on television shows such as Moonlighting, and he is a five-time undefeated Jeopardy! champion.
Not your garden-variety mystery. A succulent little book, with a down-to-earth detective, a thorny problem, good plot, and very good and believable characters. Read morePublished on Aug. 3 1999