cover image Scar Tissue

Scar Tissue

William G. Tapply. Minotaur Books, $24.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-312-26679-0

You can always rely on Boston lawyer Brady Coyne, as shown in this outstanding whodunit, the 17th in this underappreciated series from suspense master Tapply (Cutter's Run, etc.). When Brian, the 15-year-old son and only child of Jake and Sharon Gold, is apparently involved in a fatal auto accident, Brady rushes to their home in suburban Reddington, Mass., to lend his support. The local police, headed by Chief Ed Sprague, have fished the body of Brian's girlfriend out of a car that plunged through a guardrail into the frozen river below. The two were inseparable, so the search goes on for Brian somewhere beneath the ice. Brady, however, soon suspects the boy is alive. Then Jake, after sending Brady a sealed envelope for safekeeping, asks that they meet at a motel outside Boston. When Brady enters the room rented by ""John Silver,"" he finds not his friend but Chief Sprague, shot dead. Jake turns up later in Sprague's barn, his corpse showing signs of torture. The plot gets even thicker when Brady finds hundreds of dollars torn into shreds hidden in Brian's room. The tension mounts as Brady comes under pressure from politically ambitious DA Gus Nash and cynical detective Roger Horowitz to reveal what he knows. Plus there's girlfriend Evie, who isn't returning his calls, as well as the bereft Sharon, who sorely needs consolation. A confrontation in Brady's office with a gun-wielding goon bent on retrieving the sealed envelope is only one of several electrifying episodes that wrap up this ingenious yarn, featuring one of the most convincingly heroic and likable of contemporary sleuths. Agents, Jed Mattes and Fred Morris. (Oct.)