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.
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
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