David Terrenoire, Author . St. Martin's Minotaur/Dunne $23.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-32131-4

Terrenoire draws on his two years with the U.S. Army in Central America for his humorous debut thriller spiced with exciting commando action. Ex-spy/piano player John Harper gets dragooned into leaving his comfortable life entertaining at Washington, D.C., social functions for a fading luxury hotel in Panama City, where ongoing paramilitary training appears to be building to an unknown event planned for New Year's Eve. The previous piano player got eaten by a snake—or a shark. Packing his autographed 8×10 photo of Duke Ellington, Harper has mere days to solve the puzzle and also figure out why various soldiers of fortune are being killed. The sinister Kelly, the man in charge, takes an immediate dislike to our unlikely hero: "It must be quite difficult to kill terrorists with a piano." "Not if you drop it from a great height, sir," replies Harper, who makes an engagingly offbeat narrator ("You're like this weirdly hip choirboy," another character tells him). The Canal Zone years after the blitz to grab Noriega is a superb setting, and the solid supporting cast includes the deadly and efficient Phil "Mad Dog" Ramirez, who could play Hawk to Harper's Spenser for many entertaining novels to come. Agent, Richard Abate at ICM. (Feb. 1)

Reviewed on: 01/10/2005
Release date: 01/01/2005
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4668-7226-4
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