A Murder of Honor

Robert Andrews, Author Putnam Adult $23.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-399-14684-8
Spy novelist Andrews (The Towers, etc.)--ex-Green Beret, former CIA operative and onetime aide to a senior U.S. senator--here produces a fast-paced, hard-driving police procedural exposing the chilling violence and murky political cesspools of our nation's capital. Father Robert J. O'Brien, a well-known social activist priest, is gunned down in what looks to be a late-night drive-by shooting on Pennsylvania Avenue. Assigned to the case more or less as scapegoats to take the heat off City Hall, veteran ""shoot first, ask questions later"" homicide detectives Frank Kearney and Jos Phelps plunge headfirst into a seething mess. Forensic evidence soon indicates that the murder was most likely a professional hit. Missing is a mysterious skinny bespectacled kid with a ponytail, last seen just before the shooting. Another potential witness is found in a red BMW reduced to pancake thinness by a wrecking-yard metal compactor. Meanwhile, a folder of personal ads from a gay magazine and a cool half-million in cash secreted in the slain priest's closet suggest the victim may have been trafficking in hard drugs. Complicating matters further, a sleazy TV journalist twists an on-the-air interview with the city treasurer into an implied indictment of the priest as an embezzler. The body count rises as hired hit men, a former D.C. cop turned private security agency entrepreneur and assorted other suspects turn up to cloud the picture. Set on the eve of a mayoral election, this gem of a thriller marks the auspicious crossover of a writer from first-rate cloak and dagger fiction to street-smart cop lit. It has sequel written all over it. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/2001
Release date: 01/01/2001
Genre: Fiction
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Mass Market Paperbound - 320 pages - 978-0-425-18302-1
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