An old favorite in the annals of detective fiction is Roger L. Simon's character, Moses Wine, currently featured in Director's Cut. Thirty years on (the first Moses Wine novel, The Big Fix, dates from 1973), the aging hippie detective is as strident and as relevant as ever. Post-September 11, Wine's detective business has slowed to a trickle. He jumps at the opportunity for a paying gig when a friend calls from Prague and offers him a security position on a movie set. It seems that the production has been plagued by setbacks, apparently due to a splinter group offended by the film's subject, the Holocaust. Wine has scarcely settled into his hotel room in Prague when he and the leading lady are kidnapped by Islamic fundamentalists. A wild ride ensues, literally and figuratively, and our detective quickly finds himself a human pawn, caught between the tender mercies of the Muslims and the intelligence community. Director's Cutis a timely thriller, loaded with absorbing insider snippets about the film industry (Simon is a well-known screenwriter), humorous jabs at governmental bureaucracy and a general disregard for icons of any sort. If you can remember tie-dye and VW Microbuses (or, more to the point, if you wore tie-dyes and drove a VW Microbus), this is a must-read.

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