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Jan Burke's stories about a vulnerable and resourceful reporter at a Southern California newspaper called Las Piernas News Express all feature tense and thoughtful plots, writing that manages to be sharp and sardonic without calling attention to itself, and a dead honest picture of the world of small-market newspaper journalism. Her latest is no exception. When Kelly's homicide detective husband, Frank Harriman, gets a heroic write-up in her paper after arresting the apparent leader of a gang of murderous troublemakers that call themselves Hocus (in the sense of hoax, rather than magic), everybody at the paper and almost everybody at the cop shop thinks she's behind it. So when Frank disappears, and his blood is discovered in the trunk of his car, Irene doesn't get much help from the paper or the police. She has to track down the real secret of Hocus largely on her own--which she does in the completely credible and exciting manner we've come to expect. Burke's last book about about Kelly, Remember Me, Irene, is out in paperback, joining Dear Irene, Goodnight, Irene, and Sweet Dreams, Irene. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
In Sweet Dreams, Irene (1994), Southern California newspaper reporter Irene Kelly was abducted while pursuing a story. Burke again examines the pain suffered by kidnapping victims as Irene's police detective husband, Frank Harriman, is taken by Hocus, a terrorist group. The "takers," as hostage negotiator Thomas Cassidy calls them, are Bret Neukirk and Samuel Ryan. Twelve years earlier, when they were 10, they were kidnapped with?and witnessed the murders of?their fathers. Frank was the policeman who rescued and befriended them in the aftermath, when the boys suffered elective mutism?refusal to talk except to each other. They never revealed that a tall, white-haired cop assisted their kidnapper, Chris Powell, who was murdered shortly afterwards. Now Bret and Sam seek well-planned revenge by keeping Frank sedated on morphine until Irene goes to Bakersfield, where their fathers were killed, and discovers Powell's accomplice. Her investigation leads to three close friends of Frank's late father, who was also a policeman. Switching between past and present, Burke writes a well-paced mystery with a heartrending climax, but her strength is the sympathy and depth with which she describes how the trauma of abduction haunts the victims. Author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.