Hole in the Water

Robert Kearney, Author, Robert Kearny, Author Doubleday Books $22.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-385-48430-5
The action in Kearney's first novel, a violent suspense thriller, takes place during a 21-hour period in November 1991. Chuck Hausman, 42, is taking his new wife, Gretchen, an attractive 40-year-old, and her daughter, Kara, back to his home on Madeline Island in Wisconsin to hear the reading of his father's will. There, Gretchen also hears about Chuck's dark past-especially about a little-mentioned first marriage that ended in tragedy. The locals, she learns, are eager to get to the bottom of another tragedy: Chuck's father, Leo, a preacher, allegedly invested and lost the town savings before he died, but some people think he hid the money away in his house. Chuck's return to Madeline Island lights a fuse to long-buried powder kegs of violence and murder. As Gretchen and Kara pick up frightening misinformation and out-of-order puzzle pieces about Chuck's past, they try to head for the hills. Kearney answers some questions and leaves others dangling, putting the reader in the same boat with Gretchen and Kara as they try to decide whether or not Chuck is telling the truth. The climax depends on a familiar thriller device, but it works well, and the presentation of crucial plot and character information through dialogue, instead of flashbacks, adds another level of tension to an already gripping story. Despite ragged patches, this is a solid debut that lingers in the mind. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
Mass Market Paperbound - 259 pages - 978-0-449-00175-2
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