Lucy Wadham, Author Carroll & Graf Publishers $24.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7867-0785-0
Wadham's debut is a stylishly written thriller set in present-day Corsica, a Mediterranean island ruled by the French, rich in Italian heritage and harboring an underground movement intent on independence from both. The small, dusty island, with its proud, close-knit inhabitants, makes an apt setting for a story that depends mostly on its darkly intriguing characters. Since her husband, Matthieu, died, Alice Aron has left her home in England each summer to stay in Matthieu's birthplace, the Corsican village of Santarosa, along with their young sons, Dan and Sam. But this summer is dangerously different: on the morning of their first day in the village, Sam disappears from the town square. Alice quickly realizes her son has been kidnapped. Police detective Antoine Stuart, a native Corsican with a grim past and few hopes for his future, arrives to lead the investigation. Is the culprit the local godfather, Coco Santini, whom Antoine blames for the murder of his best friend? Was it the pro-independence group known as the Movement? Or are the kidnappers ruthless foreigners in search of ransom money? Antoine and Alice cooperate warily in their increasingly urgent attempts to find Sam. Meanwhile, subplots flourish: one involves a shipment of guns to the Movement, another Santini's long-suffering wife. Wadham's characters are vivid and complex, not always appealing but brutally realized; Antoine and Alice's deftly handled attraction never softens the harsh story or gets in the way of the suspense. American readers may need some time to decode the Corsican bureaucratic hierarchies that figure in the plot; the real story, though, lies in the relationships among the driven, compelling people Wadham has created. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-571-20149-5
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