Every Trace

Gregg Main, Author
Gregg Main, Author HarperCollins Publishers $24 (324p) ISBN 978-0-06-019178-8
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-57511-047-9
Mass Market Paperbound - 400 pages - 978-0-06-109707-2
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-06-203937-8
Hardcover - 978-0-7089-4407-3
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An otherwise predictable story of revenge gone awry is redeemed, in L.A. screenwriter Main's debut thriller, through his creation of the memorable character of a 63-year-old paroled murderer. Thirty years before the novel's beginning, Franklin Walker and another man killed Ellen Donelly's father during a robbery, a crime that the five-year-old girl witnessed. Now, bent on vengeance, Ellen leaves her husband, Pete, and their Dallas home one day without explanation. She flies to L.A., where Walker has been living since his parole, confronts him with a gun and demands the identity of the man who did the actual shooting and was never caught. Walker, a crusty old con who reads self-help books and keeps a tight rein on his feelings, manages to turn the tables and take Ellen prisoner. Meanwhile, back in Dallas, Pete does some digging in Ellen's computer and discovers that she and her recently deceased mother had been planning their revenge for many years. Helped by a family friend and an L.A. private eye who lives in a retirement home, Pete picks up Ellen's trail just as she and Walker move on toward New Mexico and a rendezvous with the killer. Unfortunately, neither Pete nor Ellen are more than one-dimensional pawns on Main's chessboard; in particular, Ellen's decision not to confide in Pete is built on a flimsy reason. Yet readers will take pleasure in observing Walker's metamorphosis from wary survivor to positive action-taker, and Main's ability to craft swift, highly charged scenes keeps the narrative moving briskly. (Mar.)
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