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Nick Sasso left San Francisco in disgrace, but in this coming of age story disguised as a thriller, he returns to confront his demons, redeem his past, face his dying father, and discover who gunned down his brother. Joe Sasso was the solid, responsible man who took over the family business and then risked everything in a get-rich-quick scheme involving some of the city's most prominent lawyers and politicians. Charged by his father with clearing the Sasso name and restoring the family's honor, confused by his feelings for Billie Fox, whose ex-husband was murdered along with Joe, Nick finds himself squarely in the gun sights of the same Russian hit man suspected of killing Joe and Sonny. The plot is more complicated than it needs to be, and some of the minor characters are more interesting than the protagonist--especially the aging Russian hit man and his enthusiastic young protégé--but by the time the narrative thunders to its dramatic conclusion and Nick finally manages to grow up, most readers won't quibble. --Jane Adams
Five years after ex-cop Nick Sasso left San Francisco in disgrace, he has made a new start in New York as the proprietor of a popular restaurant. But his complacent life is shattered when his dying father asks him to come back to the West Coast to discover why his brother Joe is "borrowing" money from the family business. A reluctant Nick returns only to find his brother murdered during a clandestine meeting with his lawyer, Sonny Culp. Nick and unlikely ally Billie Fox, the cynical ex-wife of Joe's lawyer, search for the killer as well as the reasons behind the deaths. Kaiser injects new life into classic character cliches, such as the amiable assassin, the hooker with a heart of gold, the Asian femme fatale, and the lecherous Russian mobster, to create a thriller that careens on unpredictably until the last page. Mystery and suspense fans will be up all night with this quirky page-turner. Recommended for popular fiction collections. Michael Gannon
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