SEASON OF THE ASSASSIN

Thomas Laird, Author . Carroll & Graf $24 (234p) ISBN 978-0-7867-1124-6

The two major American traumas of the '60s—J.F.K.'s assassination and the Vietnam War—collide in Laird's second, less gruesome, thriller (after 2001's Cutter) to feature Chicago police detective Jimmy Parisi. Jimmy investigates the killings of two young nurses, which hark back to a similar unresolved case—the tortures and murders of seven nursing students in 1968—handled by his late father, Jake, also a police detective. Jimmy sees so many coincidences between the cases that he and his erudite partner, Doc Gibron, are sure it's the same suspect, Carl Anglin. The narration switches between Jimmy, in the present and near present, and Jake during the earlier case. Both men suffer the same frustrations in trying to nail down the slippery Anglin. As in Cutter, Laird's pacing is good, and he brings Jimmy and his rogue suspect to life; the other characters aren't as well formed. A witness to the original crimes, kept in drugged isolation by the Feds all these years, revives miraculously with an unbelievably cogent testimony. The alternating viewpoints make for countless repetitions, partly because the father and son tell the same story and partly because their obsessions cause them to rehash events and motives. Although Anglin's supposed connection with the Kennedy assassination becomes clear early on, Laird keeps the suspense churning as leads fall apart. (Mar. 14)

Reviewed on: 02/03/2003
Release date: 02/01/2003
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 326 pages - 978-0-7862-5478-1
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