Primal Fear

William Diehl, Author Villard Books $20 (0p) ISBN 978-0-679-40211-4
Ringing dazzling changes on the suspense format he worked so successfully in Sharkey's Machine and four other thrillers, Diehl here focuses on the maneuvers of Chicago defense attorney Martin Vail, a prosecutor's worst nightmare. Vail has vexed the political machine by winning a multimillion-dollar brutality judgment against the city, county and state police, but the powers that be think they see a way to pay him back. After discovering the mutilated body of Archbishop Richard Rushman in the rectory of his church, police find Aaron Stampler cowering in a confessional, blood-soaked and gripping the murder weapon. It seems like an ironclad case--psycho slasher carves up ``the Saint of Lakeview Drive''--and a hostile judge appoints Vail as pro bono defense attorney, hoping to publicly humble him. Vail is impressed by Stampler, a runaway from the bishop's haven, Savior House, and builds a maverick defense team to butt heads with vengeful prosecutor Jane Venable. PI Tommy Goodman digs up some nasty news about the bishop (not what the reader expects) and uncovers a childhood of abuse and mysterious deaths in Stampler's Kentucky hometown. Psychiatrist Molly Arrington blows the case wide open by unearthing a terrifying secret that Vail springs in court. Diehl builds delicious tension, keeping the reader off balance right up to the gavel-pounding finale. 50,000 first printing; major ad/promo; movie rights to Paramount; Literary Guild special featured selection. ( Jan. )
Reviewed on: 01/04/1993
Release date: 01/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-345-90644-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-679-42014-9
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Mass Market Paperbound - 432 pages - 978-0-345-38877-3
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