Malcolm Forsythe, Author . Severn $25.99 (224p) ISBN 0-7278-5632-4

British author Forsythe's (Only Living Witness) seventh crime novel offers easily readable adventure with lots of sex and gore, as well as strong undercurrents of jealousy and revenge. What begins as a simple house burglary by a homeless teenager in East Anglia quickly points to an unsolved, 12-year-old missing persons case when local police learn that vanished au pair Katrina Kovacs's father, on parole from prison in Australia, may be trying to find his lost daughter, who was once employed by the "daring and modern" Layton family. In that household today, young entrepreneur Rick and artist Drusilla live a hedonistic existence, skinny-dipping and nude modeling while plotting the takeover of rival Harry Weston's software business. Rick also becomes a rival for the affections of Harry's wife, Yvonne, just before viruses start attacking Harry's computer networks. Harry's bloody demise, soon after he learns of Yvonne's infidelity, ratchets up the suspense. Present-day events seamlessly meld with past encounters as the sordid facts of Katrina's disappearance gradually emerge. Forsythe writes superb dialogue, as in Chief Inspector Millson's questioning of nonchalant Yvonne about her husband's murder. Suspects and witnesses from young teens to senile elders enliven Millson's adept inquiry. Unfortunately, a rushed conclusion, just after a stunning murder/suicide on the Layton yacht, leaves us to wonder what old Mr. Kovacs, who never actually appears in the story, might have done with this messy situation had he ever made it to England. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 10/22/2001
Release date: 04/01/2001
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