One Man’s Castle

J. Michael Major. Five Star, $25.95 (324p) ISBN 978-1-4328-2683-3
Major’s crime thriller debut displays flashes of genuine talent. When early one morning an intruder enters the house of Walter Buczyno in rural Westbrook, Ill., Buczyno savagely attacks the man with a baseball bat. Buczyno refrains from finishing him off after recognizing the intruder as the “face of a thousand nightmares,” Franklin Edward Harris. Eight years earlier, Harris, then 15, murdered Buczyno’s wife, Dottie, and served a mere six years in prison. Buczyno proceeds to torture and then kill Harris, who vowed at his trial to take his revenge on Buczyno for testifying against him. Afterward, the bereaved widower decides he needs to come clean to Dottie’s family, who live in St. Paul, Minn. The discovery of Harris’s corpse and a few other surprises trigger the police manhunt that occupies most of the book. While part of the resolution feels like a cheat, Major makes his complex lead a plausible character, and the investigating officers are fully realized as well. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/07/2013
Release date: 04/01/2012
Genre: Fiction
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