cover image The Fisherman

The Fisherman

Vaughn C. Hardacker. Skyhorse, $16.99 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-63220-479-0

Hardacker (Sniper) fails to generate much heat in this rather clumsily put together thriller that never jells into a coherent whole. Mike Houston and Anne Bouchard are private investigators, once partnered as Boston cops and now romantically involved. Bouchard talks Houston into meeting Betty and Archie Guerette, whose granddaughter Cheryl has gone missing. Cheryl, an addict and prostitute, has been taken by Willard Fischer, a seriously disturbed and dangerous man known as the Fisherman. Bouchard and Houston quickly learn that numerous prostitutes have disappeared without a trace, and they turn to Jimmy O'Leary, a leading Boston mobster, who has underworld connections who can help with the search. Hardacker splits his story into three parts: the first details Fischer's strange obsessions and sick behavior; the second, the gradually narrowing investigation of Houston and Bouchard; and the third, O'Leary dealing in his own violent fashion with a huge trafficking operation involving powerful figures. Unfortunately, all the pieces fail to make a satisfying whole. (June)