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'The Man Of Maybe Half-A-Dozen Faces' by Ray Vukcevich

Books in Brief

Thursday, August 17, 2000

By Robert Croan, Post-Gazette Senior Editor


The Man Of Maybe Half-A-Dozen Faces

By Ray Vukcevich

St. Martin’s Minotaur


Science fiction writer Ray Vukcevich has created the fantastic and bizarre title character of “The Man of Maybe Half-a-Dozen Faces.” Brian Dobson is 38, blond and lives in Eugene, Ore., where he operates as a private investigator under the name of Skylight Howells, or just plain Sky -- who wears, among other paraphernalia, a big mustache.

Dobson’s other incarnations include Mr. Face, a Mad magazine spy figure he uses in sessions with his online cybertherapist, Roger; Scarface, who has a human body with the head of a bat; Dennis, a super computer nerd and mathematical genius; Dieter, who always dresses in black; the flamboyant Lulu, a transvestite alter ego; and Mr. Normal Guy, who can go out in public without attracting attention.

It’s not the multiple personalities that get our hero in trouble, however. It’s the fact that he has an obsession with tap dancing. “I’m a problem dancer,” he admits. “When I start dancing, I dance the night away. I lose myself.”

One day, a beautiful woman comes into Sky’s office, soliciting his help in finding her missing twin brother, Pablo, who was a partner to a man named Gerald in a firm that produced computer manuals. Gerald has been strangled with a printer cable, Pablo has disappeared, and is suspected of murdering his partner.

When Sky, with the help of his alter ego friends, starts to investigate, he finds that a serial killer is loose. And that’s only the beginning of this zany, bizarre and very original adventure.

Vukcevich’s premise is pretty off-the wall, but the mystery itself is well-plotted and actually makes sense, once you accept the givens about the title character. One thing is sure. You’re not likely to have read a mystery anything like this one.

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