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IN BRIEF

Fiction

June 05, 1994|ERIKA TAYLOR

ONE KISS LED TO ANOTHER by Harris Dulany. (HarperCollins: $XX; pp.) When Con Leeds, a fast-talking, hard-drinking South Jersey PI, is hired to find the missing granddaughter of a rich business man, he has no reason to believe it is anything other than a straightforward runaway teen-ager situation. Wrong. After the girl is found dead, it seems that everyone she knew is full of differing and complex agendas. There's the pimp in a 12-step program, the DA turned biker and Julie, a gorgeous young woman who has sex and rage hopelessly confused.

Harris Dulany, author of "One Kiss Led to Another," keeps eccentric characters proliferating faster than dead bodies. Although the writing could use more adrenaline, it is, for the most part, smart solid and dependable. Protagonist, Con Leeds, tends to be somewhat cliched, but there is a certain old-dog comfort to be found in the tough detective with a heart of gold.

There are no big flaws in "One Kiss Led to Another," and the small ones do not seriously detract from it's overall success. Leeds sometimes behaves in ways that are less than sympathetic in becoming involved (primarily for sex) with a much, much younger woman who carries secret emotional scars that will be obvious to many astute readers. Another problem is the slightly languid pace. Yet clearly Dulany can write, and "One Kiss Led to Another" is an auspicious debut.

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