Sleight of Hand

Robin Hathaway, Author Thomas Dunne Books $23.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-312-37092-3
At the start of Hathaway's disappointing third mystery to feature Dr. Jo Banks (after 2004's Satan's Pony), Jo is riding her motorcycle to work at Bridgeton Hospital in rural New Jersey when she comes upon a crime scene\x97an unknown man has been killed execution-style on the side of the road. Rumor has it at the hospital that the victim was a \x93gangsta\x94 from Philly. Later, not far from the body site, Jo hears the sounds of a printing press coming from a barn, where she finds a man with his hand stuck in an old-fashioned roller press. The man, who identifies himself as Max, forces Jo at gunpoint to release him, then threatens to shoot his Down syndrome daughter, Lolly, if Jo doesn't come back and perform surgery on his injured hand. Intrigued by Lolly, Jo returns and decides to dig into the mystery of Max's determination to hide from the authorities. Jo's early interactions with Max simply don't ring true, and the side story of the gang hit serves no real purpose. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/31/2008
Release date: 04/01/2008
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