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Spiral [Mass Market Paperback]

Jeremiah Healy
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 1 2000 John Francis Cuddy Mystery

Still reeling from an unfathomable tragedy, Boston P.I. John Francis Cuddy agrees to help a former Vietnam-era comrade who is searching for his granddaughter's killer. The thirteen-year-old was found dead in Colonel Nicolas Helides' heavily guarded mansion on the Intracoastal Waterway. Used by her own father to revive his rock band, called Spiral, Veronica Helides had been molded into a sexually provacative rock starlet. By the time someone drowned her, murder was merely the last crime committed against her.

Now Cuddy is picking apart a cast of players in the life of Colonel Heilides and the girl everyone called "Very." From Helides' depressive son to former groupies, from a mysterious spiritual adviser to the woman who married the colonel for his money, Cuddy is seeing the worst of human nature at a time when his own heart is broken in two. As if that were not enough, the killing of Veronica Helides may not have been the isolated act it first appeared.

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From Booklist

Boston private investigator John Cuddy is reeling from the death of his love, Nancy Meagher, in an airline disaster. He can barely cope with the present, and the future seems bleak when his past comes calling. A fellow Vietnam vet enlists Cuddy's investigative skills on behalf of their old commander, Nicolas Helides, whose 13-year-old granddaughter was murdered during a party at the Helides' Florida estate. Cuddy arrives to find Helides confined to a wheelchair by a stroke, remarried to a gold digger, and surrounded by a coterie of sycophants. Though just 13, the victim had the singing voice of a woman, and her father intended to exploit her in order to launch the comeback of his old rock group. The thirteenth Cuddy caper, one of the darkest in the series, packs an emotional wallop as it exposes the basest of human emotions--greed, jealousy, lust, and unbridled ambition. Another strong entry in a fine series. Wes Lukowsky --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

Still reeling from the loss of his lover in a plane crash, Boston p.i. John Cuddy is barely hanging in when he takes a call from Florida. It's from old friend and comrade-in-arms Justo Vega. Vega and Cuddy served together in Viet Nam as lieutenants in the MP's under Colonel Nicolas (the Skipper) Helides, an officer they both lovedand to whom both owe a lot. Now Helides seeks their help, Vega tells Cuddy. Though filthy rich as the result of years of brilliant investing, the Skipper has recently been rendered virtually helplessfelled by a stroke that, however, hasnt lessened his driving need for vengeance. Someone has brutally murdered his 12-year-old granddaughter, and the Skipper, confident that Cuddy can succeed where the Ft. Lauderdale police have failed, wants him to take over the investigation. In no shape to investigate anything except his own pain, Cuddy nevertheless says yes simply because he can't find a way to refuse. The result? He encounters hostility from the local police, suspicion and general nastiness from the highly dysfunctional Helides family, a couple of savage beatings, and a near successful attempt on his own life. He also has a bizarre tte-...-tte with a singularly depraved sociopath while tied to what might be fairly described as a man-eating tree. Still, he manages to justify the Skipper's faith in him. Crime-solving being the chancy thing it is, though, the Skipper has less reason to be grateful than he'd hoped to have. Standard whodunit, slowed and mercilessly attenuated by endless talk between Cuddy and a long list of suspects. The series (The Only Good Lawyer, 1998, etc.) has had finer moments. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars John Francis Cuddy returns with a vengence Sept. 12 1999
By A Customer
Jeremiah Healy has brought his erstwhile series character, John Francis Cuddy, Boston PI, back. After losing the second love of his life to a plane crash, he is called upon to help his Vietnam commander, one Nicholas Helides, now wheelchair bound, determine who murdered his 13 year rock singer/sexual teaser granddaughter. Cuddy finds himself in Fort Lauderdale, a place usually thought of as a bedroom community for Miami, but which below its staid surface boils like hot oil into which drops of water has fallen. Cuddy must deal with a world-class dysfunctional family, cops with a cruelty gene, violent rednecks, hookers, and the rock group Spiral, whose problems would take longer to list than the side effects to Viagra. Cuddy displays just how tough he is, as he takes more than his share of physical abuse from a number of people. Healy has pushed the envelope in dealing with issues relating to children and their sexuality. He pulls it off brilliantly and without being exploitive. That's the mark of a great writer, which Jeremiah Healy again proves he is. This is definitely one to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Better than ever June 23 1999
By A Customer
Private Investigator John Cuddy drops his beloved Nancy Meagher at Boston's Logan Airport so the Suffolk County prosecutor can attend an educational conference in San Francisco. However Flight 133 crashed, probable cause being El Nino. Nancy was reported dead with her body not recovered.
Still recovering from the shock, John goes to Florida where he meets an old buddy from his military police days in Saigon. Justo Vega asks John to help the "Skipper", their former Commanding Officer Nicholas Helides. Apparently, Nicholas believes someone murdered his teenage granddaughter, even though the official report and the media believe the girl accidentally drowned in the family swimming pool. Skipper wants Nicholas to uncover the identity of the killer.
The thirteenth Cuddy novel is an interesting, well-written tale that refreshes the series as the lead protagonist SPIRALs into a much darker novel than usual. The story line rips the guts open on the characters
exposing their raw energies and dire emotions. John is included in exposing his rawest nerves even as he remains a caring, grieving individual. Jeremiah Healy has written one of the better albeit gloomiest entries in a tremendous series.

Harriet Klausner
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2.0 out of 5 stars I tried to believe it......... June 17 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I purchased this book on the basis of the reviews I had read here. This was my first Healy novel, and I had high expectations. Knowing that a good novel, or movie, has to make one suspend disbelief, I was surprised to find in the first chapter circumstances surrounding the murder of 13 year old to be a little unbelieveable. For example, the security cameras in the mansion of her grandfather being turned off during the commission of the crime because a 15 year old friend of the victim wanted to make his own video of the party, and didn't want any competition from any other videotape. Bit of a stretch, eh? Oh, and she could sing like Janis Joplin?
Anyway, as we move along, several interesting characters develop, but weaving them all together requires so much imagination, and often re reading, that the plot development struggles as much as our hero. Although the perpetrator is a bit of surprise, the movement of the other characters is a bit shallow and predictable. I'd skip this one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Contemporary Noir at Its Best April 29 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
While I was touring for my first mystery novel, many readers compared my work to that of Jeremiah Healy's. Such comparisons pleased me greatly, and SPIRAL clearly demonstrates what I admire most about Healy's works.
John Cuddy is still mourning the death of his love, Nancy Meagher, when an old friend from his Vietnam service calls him on behalf of their wartime commander Nicolas Helides, who is now confined to a wheelchair. Helides' thirteen-year-old granddaughter was murdered. The girl's father planned to use his daughter to revitalize his old rock band. As Cuddy investigates the teengirl's death, he finds himself confronting greed, jealousy, lust, and ambition. SPIRAL is perhaps the darkest of Healy's Cuddy series, yet, in this mystery writer's opinion, it is one of his best. It is a magnificent work. Slide your mouse over to the purchase button and order it today.
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