July 19, 1982 12:00 PM

by John Katzenbach

There is a certain kind of detective novel called a “police procedural.” There ought to be another category called a “newspaper procedural.” This book’s hero-narrator is a reporter on a Miami newspaper. His big story is about a crazed Vietnam vet who is a vicious killer. The madman begins to call the reporter and take him into his confidence, and there is a subplot about the narrator’s girlfriend, a nurse, and his uncle, who has committed suicide. The city editor resembles the one in the movie Absence of Malice. The dialogue is not convincing much of the time, especially that of the killer when he gives his reasons for the murders. But Katzenbach, a reporter for the Miami Herald, is good with city room details and politics. The author is the son of former U.S. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach. (Atheneum, $13.95)

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