cover image Predator


Jack Olsen. Delacorte Press, $19.95 (366pp) ISBN 978-0-385-29935-0

Olson ( Cold Kill ), arguably the best true-crime author around, triumphs again with the story of a serial rapist on the West Coast and of an innocent man destroyed by the police and the justice system--which found him guilty of one of the rapes. It is the tale of McDonald (``Mac'') Smith, a child of the '50s raised in Ohio and the L.A. area by very young, seemingly psychotic parents. It's also an account of Steve Titus, a happy-go-lucky, rising young Seattle executive who was convicted and then exonerated of a rape charge in 1981, not long before his death from a heart attack. Olson tells, too, of Paul Henderson, a newsman who risked his career at the Seattle Times to prove Titus's innocence, and of Ronald Parker, a policeman and violent bully who withheld and distorted evidence to convict Titus. Compelling throughout, the book builds to a climax in its final sentence, dealing a blow to the idea that police in the case cared a whit about justice. Literary Guild/Mystery Guild selection; author tour. (Apr.)