In An Evil Time Hardcover – May 2001
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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.
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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.Read more ›