From Publishers Weekly
A top-notch mystery with a drop-dead beginning, Healy's eighth John Cuddy novel, following the Shamus-nominated Shallow Graves , is loaded with red herrings and brightened by small moments of warmth. When three members of a fun-loving foursome are crossbowed to death in a Maine summer house, sole survivor Steve Shea becomes the prime suspect. The evidence against him is considerable: his bloody footprints are found around the house; he's discovered holding the weapon; his dead wife Sandra and his dead friend Hale Vandemeer had been lovers. While Steve, who isn't a very likable sort, may be innocent of the murders, he may be guilty of something else: his job for a weapons manufacturer is extremely secretive and the killings coincide with a big sale. Boston PI Cuddy finds other angles of note: Hale's car-dealer brother has financial woes; Hale and Vivian's loathsome drug-dealing son has a girlfriend with gang ties. Beneath these high-profile motives runs the resentment of Maine locals who have little use for the yuppy foursome's fancy wines and blithe gutting of the landscape for a pretty view. Cuddy's adventures start in a low key--graveside conversations with his own departed wife--and escalate to trading gunshots from speeding cars. Each aspect is handled with finesse.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Boston's p.i. John Cuddy has had some tough cases (Shallow Graves, etc.), but none as seemingly hopeless as the task of saving Steve Shea from a murder conviction. Shea, a super salesman at DRM, Defense Contractors in Boston, built a posh summer home on Marseilles Pond in the Maine woods. He and wife Sandra--with inseparable friends Dr. Hale Vandemeer and wife Vivian--spent summer weekends there, with loud music and an assortment of high- tech water toys, not endearing them to their few neighbors--like fedora-wearing, shotgun-toting Ma Judson or one-armed, one-legged environmentalist loner Dag Gates. One evening Shea, as was his habit, went to pick up wine and groceries--a 20-minute drive--and returned to find his wife and the Vandemeers dead--each shot with a crossbow. Protesting innocence, Shea is arrested and jailed. His lawyer hires Cuddy to explore any avenue that could provide even reasonable doubt of his guilt. Cuddy probes for means and motives- -the Vandemeers' no-good son Nicky and his drug-pushing, gang member pals; Hale's brother Hub, a car dealer in financial straights; Shea's hard-driving competitors at DRM. In the end, an overhyped secret and a casual remark put Cuddy on the right track- -with his life on the line and rescue from an unexpected source. Boston's mean streets and Maine's peaceful waters provide the richly contrasting background for a sometimes chilling, always compelling story: Healy's best to date. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.