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Fiction

March 29, 1987|Mario Machado

EXPOSURE by J. D. Reed and Christine Reed (Soho: $14.95; 256 pp.). "Exposure" is a murder mystery set against the background of professional soccer, a setting that adds a unique approach to what would otherwise be just another murder mystery story. The central character is a photographer, Paul McGuire, on the comeback from drink, drugs and divorce, assigned by his magazine to do a story on an aging but still much admired professional soccer player on the New Jersey Stars team. McGuire follows him to the locker room for an interview after a game, only to find him brutally murdered. Thus begins a series of savage slayings in which the players, all members of the New Jersey Stars, meet their fate on the receiving end of a soccer boot. McGuire has been singled out by the killer who taunts him with mysteriously delivered clues as to his intended victims.

Unimpressed by Police Lt. Leland Crilly, assigned to the case, McGuire sets out on his own to track down the vicious sociopathic killer, calling on the services of old acquaintances from his press days to help him unravel clues and paint a portrait of the killer he is desperately trying to identify.

McGuire himself almost becomes one of the psychopath's victims when he discovers the killer's identity and accidentally lets him know he has been found out.

It is never quite clear why the killer chose to implicate McGuire in his murderous spree, nor is his motive for the slayings explored other than at a highly superficial level, which does not seem to justify the viciousness of his crimes. While the premise is interesting and the setting provides a novel backdrop for an oft told story, the shallow treatment of such a complex character as the killer must be leaves a credibility gap that detracts from an otherwise well-thought-out story.

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