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December 23, 1990|Charles Solomon.

HEAR THE WIND BLOW, DEAR by David M. Pierce (Penguin: $4.95) . One of three heavily promoted novels featuring 6-foot-7 1/4 private eye Victor Daniel, "Hear the Wind Blow" reads like the winning entry in a bad Raymond Chandler contest. David Pierce fills the first- person narrative with bogus Chandlerisms: A meal is "dark, meaty and sizzling hot, like me on a good day," while Vincent's schedule is "blank as a fat girl's dance card." A dance card in 1990? The tangled plot, which involves a pair of murderous drug dealers, a family of Central American political refugees, some missing sheep and a lot of stolen gold bullion congeals, rather than thickens. Pierce attempts to create the contemporary equivalent of a '30s low-life gumshoe: Vincent scarfs junk food and swigs brandy-and-ginger ales, but his character seems not so much hard-boiled as addled.

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