Fistful of Empty

Benjamin M. Schutz, Author, Ben Schutz, Author Viking Books $17.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-670-83111-1
A socko opening ushers in a workmanlike novel in PI Leo Haggerty's fifth outing (after Embrace the Wolf ). Despite the plea of girlfriend Samantha, who is anxious to talk with him about something, Haggerty works late to help out bounty-hunter Arnie Kendall. But the fugitive they apprehend hides a key in Kendall's car, leading to a break-in and to Samantha's brutal rape at Haggerty's house. Only at the hospital does Haggerty learn that Samantha had in fact been pregnant, and that the baby has now been lost. This is the story's most affecting moment; it is followed immediately by Kendall's murder. Understandably, Haggerty resolves to avenge the tragedies himself and does not intend to share any information with the police. He finds the key, and comes into possession of a floppy disk that contains data involving an experimental AIDS remedy. Tracking down the owner of the disk takes up the rest of the tale and, as in any real-life investigation, the work is tedious. A more serious problem is Haggerty's two-dimensional character. As a result, Shutz's denouement, and its ostensibly meaningful epilogue, ring flat. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/04/1991
Release date: 02/01/1991
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