Line of Sight

Jack Kelly, Author
Jack Kelly, Author Hyperion Books $22.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-7868-6614-4
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
Mass Market Paperbound - 352 pages - 978-0-7868-9514-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 352 pages - 978-0-7868-8980-8
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Kelly writes in a clean, uncluttered style reminiscent of James M. Cain, featuring basically good men up against dire circumstance. In his third novel (after Appalachian and Mad Dog), the main character is a police detective, Ray Dolan, in an upstate New York city. He is a quiet man who finds satisfaction in doing things well and by the book. The dire circumstance in his lonely life turns out to be a new next-door neighbor, sexy, sad Sheila Travis. Sheila's husband seems to be a drunk and a bully, but she's soon encouraging the infatuated Ray to drop by and shed his uniform. When her husband is killed, what can poor Ray do but try to help her out? Thus begins a tortuous tale that goes on springing shocks virtually until the last page. This is a headlong read, with some real suspense, but Kelly's efforts to keep the reader constantly guessing sometimes leads him astray. Ray, for instance, is made to seem far more gullible than a man in his position probably would be, and the shenanigans of his best friend, fellow detective Frank Kaiser, as he investigates the Travis killing, should have made Ray suspicious much sooner. The story also has at least one double-cross too many, and the climax is over the top. Still, in its lean, noir way, this page-turner keeps its momentum, with a brace of camera-ready characters, including one unforgettable femme fatale who could send movie producers looking for the present-day equivalent of Barbara Stanwyck. (Sept.)
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