Act of Betrayal

Edna Buchanan, Author Hyperion Books $21.45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7868-6098-2
With a pulsating narrative drive compensating for a lack of plot subtlety, Pulitzer Prize-winning crime reporter Buchanan bids fair to elevate Britt Montero (Suitable for Framing), her spunky Miami crime reporter, into the rarefied air breathed by female sleuths V. I. Warshawski and Kinsey Millhone. This time Britt, hamstrung as always by boyfriend trouble, is on the trail of missing teenage boys-all white, all blond, all blue-eyed and all quite probably murdered. Her investigation splutters along, interrupted by her past, and by her half-Cuban heritage, as two older men, both professing to be Cuban patriots, hint at the existence of a diary written by her late, freedom-fighting father. But Britt has to move fast as people keep dying and as a hurricane bears down on Miami. With about a third of the book left, most readers will realize that Buchanan will have to rely on lame coincidence to untangle the child-killer case. Less a wily deduction than a matter of simple mathematics, this trite resolution grates badly. But everything else is first-rate, especially the neon-tinged, art-deco background of weird Floridian mayhem. $150,000 ad/promo; satellite author tour. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/29/1996
Release date: 02/01/1996
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