Killing/St. Cloud

Judith Guest, Author, Rebecca Hill, With Delacorte Press $17.95 (300p) ISBN 978-0-440-50069-8
Mingling a suspenseful plot with homely domestic details and a perfectly calibrated sense of atmosphere and placea small Minnesota town in the grip of bone-chilling winterthe authors of this engaging mystery collaboration have produced a solidly commercial novel. When charming psychopath Nick Uhler returns to his hometown of St. Cloud after a 12-year absence, he precipitates a series of deaths and initiates an irrevocable process in which old, unsavory secrets are revealed. Ruthlessly manipulating his former high school lover, Elizabeth, now married to surgeon Simon Carmody and in her ninth month of pregnancy, drug dealer Nick generates tragic tensions among three old-time St. Cloud families: the Fallons, (Elizabeth's domineering father Terry, weak-willed brother Tom and his devout wife Jeannie); the Carmodys (Simon's termagant mother Nellie and his brother, Charlie, who ``has a history of a very short temper and very bad luck''); and the Voigts (sad, vulnerable Marty and her gruff father Boz). United by their Catholic faith and the emotional legacies of the hard-drinking older generation, and bound by the memories of their high school years, these characters are set in confrontation by deputy sheriff Bill Hessel, an old friend of Nick and Charlie's. The prose style here is more Guest (Ordinary People , Second Heaven) than Hill, whose novels Blue Rise and Among Birches are more subtle, sensitive explorations of human relationships. But the combination works quite well, and this fast-paced novel begs to be read in one sitting. Major ad/promo; Mystery Guild main selection; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections. (November)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1988
Release date: 10/01/1988
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-440-20427-5
Hardcover - 409 pages - 978-0-8161-4836-3
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