The Last Good-Bye

H. Michael Frase, Author Carroll & Graf Publishers $24 (368p) ISBN 978-0-7867-0514-6
A mysterious femme fatale plunges a corporate aircraft salesman into a world of deception and murder in Frase's new thriller (after Fatal Gift), an initially high-flying affair that gets pulled to earth by some problematic prose and a far-fetched ending. Josh Mitchell, the handsome, successful salesman for California-based Barnett Air, meets his theoretical match in Pamela Morrow, a stunning blonde he befriends on a cross-country business flight. The romantic buildup leads to an unfulfilling tryst at his Carmel hotel, but Mitchell still believes he's met the woman of his dreams until she disappears and the dead body of her apparent doppelg nger washes up on a nearby beach the next morning. Soon he finds himself the primary suspect in the murder of Dianne Lane, a wealthy San Francisco museum curator. The mystery eventually leads Mitchell to Natchez, Miss., where the lives of the two women intersected. Along the way, he finds himself tailed by a mysterious assassin and a convoy of FBI agents, learns that his employer has set him up and must go into hiding while he pieces together the identity puzzle. Frase tiptoes around the obvious connections between the two mystery women quietly enough, but the obligatory happy ending makes a granny knot of the novel's many loose ends and will disappoint even readers who have accepted Frase's uninspired narration and dialogue as the price of an entertaining plot. 50,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo; author tour. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
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