The Innocents: A Wil Hardesty Mystery

Richard Barre, Author
Richard Barre, Author Walker & Company $19.95 (234p) ISBN 978-0-8027-3261-3
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-425-16109-8
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Barre enjoys modest success with a debut that, weighted with angst, stands uncertainly on a rickety plot. Aging surfer and Vietnam vet Wil Hardesty watches his marriage and sleuthing practice falter in the wake of his young son's death. He does still get the odd case, however: in this instance, the father of a dead boy comes forward when the bones of seven children are discovered in the California desert. With the help of the father, who tells of giving his son up for adoption to a frightening man with a scar, Wil follows the trail to a powerful church, a charismatic preacher and a generous benefactor--and the man with the scar. The scenario suggests serial murder, illegal adoption, pedophilia or satanic dabblings. Managing to steer clear of the expected, Barre falters in the end with a simplistic solution. His efficient narrative style begs to be used on a better story. (May)
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