Blood Relations

John A. Peak, Author Thomas Dunne Books $24.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-312-15182-9
This second novel (after Spare Change, 1994) delivers solid storytelling in following veteran cop Robert MacDonald as he leaves his cushy position to return to beat work in Martin, Tex. His aim is to understand the recent shooting death of his estranged son, Terry, who was also a cop. The elder MacDonald is a thoroughly sympathetic character: still adjusting to the death of his wife two years earlier and to a severe hearing loss, he has found his niche on the police force running the shooting range and leading a highly regarded group in competitive marksmanship. Although he never got the chance to reconcile with Terry, he has worked to maintain his relationship with his other son, Kevin. Pursuing the slim leads already abandoned by his fellow cops, who believe Terry committed suicide to avoid charges of having killed a young woman protester, McDonald finds that both he and Kevin are now the targets of a killer seeking vengeance for wrong but credible--and even sympathetic--reasons. As MacDonald and the killer single-mindedly stalk one another, the action leads from the city to scrubland and mountains with tension accumulating slowly and steadily until the climax. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/1997
Release date: 08/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
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