cover image The Spotted Cats

The Spotted Cats

William G. Tapply. Delacorte Press, $17.95 (241pp) ISBN 978-0-385-30233-3

Tapply toys with but never fully explores the metaphor of the hunter and the hunted in lawyer/sleuth Brady Coyne's 10th outing. Professional hunter Jeff Newton has lived as an embittered and near-friendless invalid since being attacked by a wounded leopard in Africa. Brady, his lawyer, is visiting him on Cape Cod when Newton's seven solid-gold pre-Columbian jaguar statuettes given to Newton by a Mayan chief as reward for slaying the wild cat that mauled his son, are stolen. Brady is knocked out after the crooks superficially slit his throat and Jeff, bashed in the head, falls into a coma. Only Lily, Jeff's seductive, lonely, longtime housekeeper, remains unharmed. Enraged by the attack, Brady hunts for the thieves, his search eventually taking him to Montana, where the crime is resolved. While Tapply ( Dead Meat ) writes dialogue with Spartan economy, Brady's tendency to ruminate--about fishing or about his personal ambivalences--diminishes the impact of his character. (Apr.)