cover image Never Quite Dead

Never Quite Dead

Seymour Shubin, Author St. Martin's Press $17.95 (278p) ISBN 978-0-312-02187-0

When David Kyle, an L.A.-based writer of paperback thrillers, comes home to Boston for his father's funeral, he confronts a photographand a memory he's tried for years to suppressof a heinously murdered boy. David's father, a former Boston Star-Post reporter, had devoted his retirement years to investigating the crime and left behind tantalizing documents in his study. As a kid, David used to imagine the boy climbing the stairs, gazing ``dead and lonely and frightened, into his bedroom window.'' Now David is gripped by an urgent need to hunt down the killer, despite fears that his father might have been implicated. A girlfriend, Judy, surfaces from David's past to offer encouragement. David tracks down the dead boy's mother, and an assortment of respectable people who aren't letting on to what they know, but who were once bound together in a hippie group given to petty criminal activity. Edgar-winner Shubin ( The Captain ) draws together an intricate cat's-cradle of strange coincidence and old acquaintance in which to ensnare the guilty. But the characters and the writing are unfortunately pedestrian, and the situations never seem as chilling or sinister as the novelist claims. (Dec.)