Bone Deep

David Wiltse, Author
David Wiltse, Author Putnam Publishing Group $23.95 (340p) ISBN 978-0-399-14093-8
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-425-15340-6
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-56876-052-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-56876-049-0
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Wiltse's fifth thriller to feature FBI agent John Becker (Into the Fire, etc.) effectively paints nearly every main character as the elusive serial killer preying on young women in the commuter hamlet of Camden, Conn. The rain-swollen Saugatuck River floats a bone into a local backyard, prompting the attention of the vacationing Becker and his old friend ``Tee'' Terhune, the town's police chief; Becker's assessment that the bone is human is confirmed by nerdy local orthopedist Stanley Korn. After marks on the bone reveal that the body it belongs to was cut in pieces before burial, an upriver search turns up a charnel house of companion bones in the loose soil of a Christmas tree farm. A prime suspect arises when Tee gets anonymous tips that one of his officers, the loathsome McNeil, who likes to sleep with high-school girls, is involved in the killings. Meanwhile, Becker's wife, Karen, an FBI honcho who's also his boss, pushes Becker and herself into a friendship with Korn and his wife. Signs of an affair between Korn and Karen unnerve Becker enough to hire private detectives to follow the orthopedist; distracted by this threat to his marriage, Becker makes little headway on the case while Tee obsesses about McNeil until a chance happening forces a frightening confrontation that nearly costs Karen her life. Becker's marital tensions cry ``plot device,'' but, as usual, Wiltse manages to weave the psychological foibles of cops and criminals expertly, adding depth to a story that, even on the surface, is a nail-biter. (Oct.)
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