Michael Gruber, Author . Morrow $24.95 (436p) ISBN 978-0-06-057766-7

Gruber's new mystery/thriller more than fulfills the promise of his dazzling Tropic of Night (2003), a critical and commercial success and his first book published under his own name. The story emerges from three directions: the POV of Cuban-American Miami cop Jimmy Paz; pages from the book Faithful Unto Death: The Story of the Nursing Sisters of the Blood of Christ by Sr. Benedicta Cooley; and a series of handwritten notebooks, The Confessions of Emmylou Dideroff . Gruber brings back Paz ("a neatly built, caramel-colored man, in a beautifully cut gray-green silk and linen suit" and one of the smartest, coolest, most intriguing cops working the pages of American thrillers these days) from Tropic to investigate the death of Arab oil trader Jabir Akran al-Muwalid, who's been bonked on the head with a piston rod and thrown off the balcony of his hotel room. Inside al-Muwalid's room, Paz finds Emmylou Dideroff kneeling on the floor, having a one-sided conversation with St. Catherine of Siena. The rod belongs to Emmylou, so she's assumed to be the killer; she's put into a mental hospital under the care of Paz's new psychiatrist girlfriend. Emmylou's written confessions tell the horrifying but riveting tale of growing up with an insane mother and a stepfather who molested her, as well as her adventures as a whore, drug dealer and, after joining the Nursing Sisters of the Blood of Christ, a tribal leader in Africa. Readers will find each of the stories—Paz's, Emmylou's and that of the founder of the Nursing Sisters—equally fascinating. Evocative prose, an erudite author, spellbinding subject matter and totally original characters add up to make this one a knockout. Agent, Simon Lipskar . (Jan. 4)

Forecast: A good marketing push and word of mouth should assure a position at the top of the charts for Gruber, who ghosted Robert K. Tanenbaum's bestselling Butch Karp legal thrillers for many years.

Reviewed on: 11/08/2004
Release date: 01/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 559 pages - 978-0-330-43651-9
Paperback - 436 pages - 978-1-4050-5117-0
Ebook - 448 pages - 978-0-06-180791-6
Ebook - 448 pages - 978-0-06-115719-6
MP3 CD - 978-0-7927-3442-0
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 448 pages - 978-0-06-081602-5
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-082917-9
Open Ebook - 448 pages - 978-0-06-081606-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-082916-2
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-06-165074-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7927-3429-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7927-3430-7
Compact Disc - 978-0-06-075930-8
Mass Market Paperbound - 413 pages - 978-0-06-057767-4
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