From Publishers Weekly
Aaron Asherfeld, a northern California PI introduced in A Clean Sweep, probes the suspicious death of a philosophy professor in this campus mystery that centers around-and takes some potshots at-issues of gay, women's and minority rights. The medical examiner's report states that the man, whose remains have been cremated, died of apparently natural causes, but the rumor is he was murdered and his penis cut off. The laconic Asherfeld, who never passes up a chance to crack wise, learns that the dead prof had garnered lots of federal grant funds, much of it unaccounted for, and eventually suspects he has found evidence of money laundering through campus organizations and the smuggling of illegal aliens. He also runs into an Asian who has a large dragon tattooed on his hand. Berlinski overloads his twisted plot with angles that veer off into dead ends as Asherfeld consistently retreats from difficult questions rather than pursue them. While all is wrapped up neatly, Asherfeld comes across more like a Spenser retread than a convincing character on his own.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
``Just keep me deniable on this,'' intones the president of the unnamed Bay Area university threatened with headlines after the medical examiner refuses to sign a death certificate for philosophy professor Richard Montague. A hunting expedition through the university's books shows that Montague illegally diverted thousands in research funds to a privately held corporation; Montague's research assistant and motorcycle buddy Bulton Limbish is arrested for dealing; the president gets a blackmail demand threatening to release to the press a graphic video of Montague's last, X-rated moments; and millionaire Odo Omo, whose ranch is being used by the university chapter of NOMAS (the National Organization of Men Against Sexism), is implicated in a scheme to smuggle illegal immigrants into the country. Not the least of the university's problems is the dean's anointed investigator, Aaron Asherfeld (A Clean Sweep, 1993), the resourceful pipsqueak whose don't-tread-on- me attitude is equally offensive to gays, lesbians, people of color, frat rats, sensitivity trainers, politically incorrect hired goons, the police, and of course his frantic, hilariously venal employers. Don't expect too much of the comic rage Asherfeld's certainly entitled to (which flashes out only intermittently, at such indiscriminately chosen targets as the protestors chanting, ``Dead men don't rape''); instead, relax and enjoy his rollicking, toothless satire of the easy marks of academe. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.