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An intriguing setting and well-developed characters partially redeem the weak story line of psychotherapist Zelvin's debut. Bruce Kohler wakes up one December morning in a Bowery detox unit on Manhattan's Bowery. Bruce soon establishes a shaky friendship with fellow inmate Godfrey Brandon Kettleworth III, who introduces himself as "God" then adds "Alcoholic." When Godfrey turns up dead, Bruce's two best friends-his former drinking buddy, Jimmy, and Jimmy's girlfriend, Barbara-encourage him to investigate the murder, not because he has any skills in that area but because they think it will distract him from drinking. The amateur sleuthing, which starts on this thin footing, turns silly; the three almost treat it like a game. In the final chapters, people are being murdered right and left and suspects pop up like gophers, all presented without drama or passion. Deft prose can't save the muddled plot from sinking into anticlimax. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.