cover image Sirens-V712


Stephen Pett, Steve Pett. Vintage Books USA, $9.95 (401pp) ISBN 978-0-394-75712-4

At heart, this pk sprawling, ambitious first novel is an old-style detective story transplanted to the pk contemporary American West. Carlos Cade is the womanizing, down-on-his-luck investigator of his own past, a man too hard-boiled and bitter to accept a better life when it's offered to him. Raised in a poor Salt Lake City family, Cade helps cover up the murder of one childhood friend by another, only to see the perpetrator marry his sister and become governor of Utah. As he moves from one dead-end job to the next, Cade is pursued by two kinds of sirens: those on the cars of policemen digging into ok with cover up, above? his violent past, and those women who offer a form of salvation--if he will give up his life as a solitary artist of vengeance . Poet and short story writer Pett ( Pulpit of Bones ) reveals the facts of Cade's case in sharpused above/deleted above/stet here/pk , concentrated prose, leading the reader to realize that the true mysteriesnext 2 reviews/stet mysteries here/pk here are the nature of guilt and innocence, and the question of whether a man who has witnessed and suffered overwhelming injustice can ever be anything but a victim bent on retributionpk . (June)