The Toothache Tree

Jack Galloway, Author St. Martin's Press $18.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-02659-2
With perceptiveness, grace and amiable humor, talented first novelist Galloway tells of the unlikely camaraderie that develops between a kidnapper and his wealthy, teenaged captive. Hamilton Caine, head of a huge Texas utilities corporation, and his wife belong to Houston's elite, and they are conceited, condescending and repugnantly self-involved. Their son, Ham Jr., gets everything he wants except parental attention; his surprising savior turns out to be Bill, a disgruntled, financially pressed former pilot for Ham Sr.'s company. To solve his money troubles Bill abducts the boy, holds him hostage in the East Texas woods and demands $200,000 in ransom. Enforced proximity and mutual loneliness swiftly draw the two together as Ham discovers the thrill of a fatherly companion--but an approaching hurricane, a dogged FBI investigation and the passage of time threaten to destroy their happiness. The author presents Ham and Bill's relationship so heart - warmingly that a rather pedestrian tale becomes virtually irresistible. Readers Digest Condensed Book Club selection. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
Genre: Fiction
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