Boasting more beatings per page than a Philip Marlowe story, this complex mystery stars ruminative Yonkers PI Jack Paine, an unjustly fired cop. During the worst heat wave in 34 years, Paine is torn away from his fat Gore Vidal novel, his Keith Jarrett records and his fishing gear by a call from the wife of his old police buddy, Bobby Petty. She reports that Bobby has deserted her and their young daughters, has stolen the girls' college funds and has phoned to warn her that he'll kill them all if she comes after him. Up to now, the couple had seemed to be models for a Norman Rockwell painting; Paine believes that Petty, who had been working on a drug case, had ``deliberately, and coldly, cut the roots from his own soul.'' A scrap of paper with a flight number leads Paine to Dallas and to the first of half a dozen savagely butchered bodies. Suspicion immediately falls on Petty, increasing as the rest of the victims are identified as his Marine comrades from Vietnam. Drugs, betrayal and corruption at the highest levels figure in a story that stretches the bounds of credibility but provides a satisfying, even shocking, climax. Sarrantonio also wrote Cold Night. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993 Release date: 08/01/1993 Genre: Fiction
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