cover image Deadstick


Terence Faherty. St. Martin's Press, $17.95 (247pp) ISBN 978-0-312-06332-0

In his memorable debut Faherty displays an assured talent for plot and character. Legal researcher Owen Keane is asked by his friend and employer, Harry Ohlman, to investigate the 1941 plane crash that killed blueblood banker William Carteret and his fiancee, Lynn Baxter. While the request is odd, it is even stranger that it has been prompted by a note from the dead banker's brother, Robert, who has not been seen publicly in years. Because Owen is well known for getting carried away with even mundane investigations, Harry is annoyed but not surprised when he has to take heat for an ill-advised attempt by Owen to visit Robert. Nevertheless, Owen persuades Harry that there is something to the inquiry: Lynn had alternated in her affections between playboy William and unassuming Robert; sabotage to the downed plane was suspected, but somehow the Civil Aeronautics Board had failed to pursue the allegation. Harry, in turn, informs Owen that the senior Ohlman had annulled Robert's one-day marriage to a nurse employed to look after Robert after his return from WW II. Owen then discovers that war injuries had left Robert's mental faculties in tatters, a fact kept secret by the top-ranking Carteret bankers. In a gothic journey to the scene of the crash, deep in New Jersey's Pine Barrens, Owen puts his research skills to their toughest test. A ultimate confrontation, worthy of the best whodunits, brings this gripping mystery to a strong conclusion. (Oct.)