cover image Prodigal Son

Prodigal Son

Danielle Steel. Delacorte, $28 (336p) ISBN 978-0-385-34315-2

Perennially popular Steel (Power Play), who is nearing the publishing century mark with her trademark blend of family issues and problematic romances, delivers a contrived tale of suspense centered on twin brothers Peter and Michael McDowell. As a child, Peter is troubled and troublesome. In contrast, Michael, the apple of his parents’ eyes, can do no wrong. Growing up, the brothers are always at odds. Peter eventually finds success as an investment banker in New York, while Michael takes over his father’s medical practice and becomes a beloved figure in the small town of Ware, Mass. After a stock market crash wipes Peter out financially, his wife, Alana, leaves him, taking their two boys with her. Peter moves to Ware, where the brothers have a rapprochement that surprises them both and pleases Michael’s invalid wife, Maggie. When Peter contacts Bill, Michael’s estranged son, Bill shares his misgivings about his father with his uncle. Readers should be prepared for revelations of wickedness on a vast scale in a family melodrama that only dedicated Steel fans are likely to find of much interest. (Feb.)