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In an Evil Time [Hardcover]

Bill Pronzini
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 22 2002
Jack Hollis had finally steeled himself for what had to be done, the murder of his daughter Angela's husband, David Rakubian. Rakubian was vicious, abusive, deadly, and powerful, and everyone Hollis knew and loved wanted to save Angela from him. After his first attempt failed because Rakubian didn't come home, Hollis put together a foolproof plan. He'd lure Rakubian to his grave with the promise of seeing Angela. It would work: an isolated place, the body easily disposed of, perfect alibis. There was just one problem: The target didn't show.

And when Hollis went to Rakubian's house and found his body, he didn't know who he had to protect. There were too many people among his friends and family who wanted Rakubian dead, and no one was saying a word.

Bill Pronzini, the award-winning author such highly praised thrillers as Nothing But the Night, takes us into the heart and soul of a man pushed to his limits and then beyond them as he fights, first for his daughter and then for his family and his own salvation. With the twists in plot that Pronzini's fans have come to expect, and the author's incisive understanding of the motivations that drive us, In an Evil Time is a compelling novel of human need and stunning suspense.


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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

A cancer-stricken father goes head-to-head with his daughter's abusive ex-husband in this sturdy, rewarding thriller by veteran Pronzini. Angela Hollis thinks she has escaped her obsessed second husband, David Rakubian, when she wins a divorce settlement and refuses any award. Rakubian, a piranha trial lawyer, refuses to recognize the divorce anyway and threatens Angela and Kenny, her young son from her first marriage, with death if they do not return to him. Angela's father, Jack Hollis, a successful architect just diagnosed with prostate cancer, decides the only way to guarantee Angela's safety is to kill Rakubian himself. Secretly working out a murder plan, Jack persuades Rakubian that Angela will come back to him and gets him to agree to a meeting. When Rakubian doesn't show, Hollis goes to his exclusive neighborhood and finds his body in the dining room, his skull bashed in by a statue of Poe's raven. Who beat Jack to the punch? His estranged and volatile son, Eric? His business partner, Gabe Mannix, long in love with Angela himself? Angela's cowboy first husband? Or had Angela herself finally had enough? Death threats further unsettle the would-be murderer, and the terror builds to a climax when Kenny is kidnapped at gunpoint. Pronzini (Nothing but the Night) deftly explores the dynamics of a family in crisis, protecting its own while fending off threats from within and without. The San Francisco-area setting lends the right atmosphere, and PI Sharon McCone, the creation of Pronzini's mystery author wife, Marcia Muller, makes a cameo appearance. The reader may guess the culprit long before disclosure and Jack's impulsive conclusions on scant evidence occasionally annoy, but Pronzini pulls out all the stops as he builds up to a very tricky ending.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Jack Hollis, a family man and law-abiding citizen, is ready to cross the line. His daughter, Angela, is being stalked by her abusive second husband, David Rakubian, a successful personal-injury lawyer in San Francisco. In fact, it's Rakubian's knowledge of the law's limitations that makes him so dangerous to Angela and her toddler son. Jack has weighed the options and sees Rakubian's death as the only way out for his daughter. Jack arranges a meeting at Rakubian's home, but when he arrives, Rakubian has already been killed. Convinced his son, Eric, is the killer, Jack cleans up the scene and disposes of the body. Jack later learns that Eric wasn't the killer. So who was? The question becomes more germane when an anonymous note arrives asking Jack where he hid the body. Pronzini, a prolific author and literary craftsman, has fashioned a nail-biter out of the issue of domestic abuse and the law's inability to deal with it effectively. The tension is almost unbearable at times, and the conclusion is a very logical surprise. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars CANCER OF HATE March 17 2002
Format:Hardcover
Jack Hollis has a problem. His daughter, Angela, is being stalked and threatened by her ex-husband. No amount of pleading, restraining orders or talking can keep him away. Jack must do something. After all, this is his daughter. He must protect her and his grandson from this savage animal.
In An Evil Time is a gripping drama of a man forced to lower his code of ethics in order to protect his family. Jack's stress over his daughter's problem catapults him into doing things that would never come to his mind. Out of desperation he goes out to kill this crazed stalker only to find out someone has already done the job for him. Who? Jack suspects his own son Eric who had just as much hate for the man as Jack. Now Jack has to protect his son from discovery.
If you have ever been stalked you can certainly identify with this family. Helpless and hopeless the law is impotent in stopping the harrassment of the stalker. Everyone goes through various stresses and strains until they reach their breaking poing. See a law abiding man turn into a cynical angry time bomb ready to explode. His anger is like a cancer which spreads throughout his family to the point where he makes various mistakes and assumptions that can destroy them.
You will be intrigued by the social implications of stalking upon a family. Pronzini also shows us how psychological pressures can eat away at us to the point where we become the monster that we're trying to eradicate. Find out how Jack tries to rid himself of his personal and psychological demons.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding craftmanship June 15 2001
Format:Hardcover
Angela married attorney David Rakubian on the rebound from her divorce. She tried to make her second marriage work but failed because David is a sociopath control freak who verbally and physically abused her. When Angela worries about the safety of her son sired by a different person she divorces David to return to the home of her parents where she knows her loving parents, especially her father Jack Hollis, would do anything to ease her troubles.

David begins to stalk Angela and threatens her and her loved ones, but in sly ways so that the police have no proof of his acts. Jack concludes that this animal of a former son-in-law must die before he kills one of them. Jack sets up a full-proof plan, but David fails to arrive at the dead zone. Jack goes to David's home to find that someone already murdered his adversary. He believes a family member killed David so Jack buries the corpse and cleaned the house. Not long afterward letters arrive informing David and Angela that someone knows what happened to David. The miserable cycle begins anew.

Bill Pronzini is a brilliant storyteller who uses his characters to propel forward a taut plot. When Mr. Pronzini provides only a last name of a cast member, he insures that the audience never becomes too close to that player. However, Jack is unique as the audience roots for his success even when he steps over the line. IN AN EVIL TIME is a chilling tale of horror with human monsters that could be living next door.

Harriet Klausner
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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Psychological Suspense Thriller May 7 2001
Format:Hardcover
Jack Hollis has a problem. A serious problem. Jack Hollis is a regular, middle aged law-abiding Californian, with a good job, a nice house, a loving wife, a son in college and a married daughter named Angela. Angela's second husband is the problem.
His name is David Rakubian. He's an out-of-control, sadistic, control freak. Rakubian believes totally in that line in the wedding vows, the one that says 'til death do us part. And he's prepared to demonstrate his commitment by killing pretty much anybody who gets between him and what he sees as his absolute and total right to Angela's body and soul. As a result of the beatings and verbal abuse, Angela and her son by her first marriage, have left Rakubian and obtained a temporary restraining order to keep him away. Threats and confrontations result.
Pushed to the law-abiding limit, as Angela prepares to go into the underground network that protects and supports abused women and their children, Hollis decides his only recourse is to murder Rakubian. This is not something he decides lightly and part of the author's high quality is his illuminating exploration of the agony that besets Hollis while he secretly plans an act so foreign to his being, without stealing interest in the story.
Eventually, after we are treated to an excellent interweaving of characters in his family, his colleagues and his close friends, Hollis sets out to track down Rakubian and kill him. But when he finds the man, Rakubian is already dead and this sets up a turbulent, excruciating effort on Hollis' part to figure out who did murder Rakubian, and to protect that person.
It is at this juncture in the novel we are able to see the genius of the author. There are any number of plausible suspects, from members of Hollis family to his colleagues.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Finest Mystery Writer Now Working July 24 2001
Format:Hardcover
As a mystery writer with my first book in its initial release, I have repeatedly asserted that Bill Pronzini is the finest mystery writer now working. His NAMELESS series is a landmark in modern detective fiction. His recent stand-alone thrillers have been universally excellent, deserving of the nominations and awards that several have received. IN AN EVIL TIME is Mr. Pronzini's most recent thriller. It features Jack Hollis, a good man pushed beyond his limits by pure evil--David Rakubian. Rakubian is the ex-husband of Jack's daughter, Angela. Jack finally makes a difficult decision that a man has to do what a man has to do to protect those he loves, yet he finds someone has beaten him to the task. Jack then, once again, has to struggle to protect those he knows he has to protect. IN AN EVIL TIME is a complex and fulfilling thiller, written by a masterful writer working at the top of his craft.
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