Benjamin M. Schutz, Author . Five Star $25.95 (334p) ISBN 978-1-4104-0200-4

Edgar- and Shamus-winner Schutz (Embrace the Wolf , etc.) makes a brilliant return after a 10-year absence from the publishing lists with a psychological thriller that roils the emotions from shocking start to shattering end. When Tom Tully, ex-pro football player, decides that his wife, Serena, is cheating on him, he sets out to destroy her by legal and extralegal means. Locking her out of the house, taking her (their) kids, leaving her without a cent and undermining her fragile mental health are first steps taken with the aid of a lawyer as unscrupulous as any in memory. Effective use of the legal system is coupled with Tom's cruder methods of launching a numbing, all-out assault on Serena. Court-appointed specialist Dr. Morgan Reece, thorough, objective, decent, offers the first ray of light, but his professional neutrality prevents him from assuming the role of white knight. That's left to retired domestic relations lawyer Lou Carlson, who's moved by Serena's plight to defend her. The battlefield shifts from the terrible brutality and single-mindedness of Tom to the nefarious manipulations of the legal system in deadly concert. Schutz's gut-wrenching story plays out with all the inevitability of a Greek tragedy. Agent, Lynn F. Myers, Jr. (Oct. 16)

Forecast: Blurbs from Les Roberts, Jeremiah Healy and Joe Gores, plus speculation on what Schutz has been doing all these years, should help ensure extra printings.

Reviewed on: 09/20/2004
Release date: 00/00/0000
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 470 pages - 978-0-7862-7268-6
Paperback - 334 pages - 978-1-4104-0237-0
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