cover image Death by Station Wagon

Death by Station Wagon

Jon Katz. Doubleday Books, $17 (360pp) ISBN 978-0-385-42112-6

Suburbia has rarely looked so perilous as in this ultimately exhilarating mystery, with its utterly believable, uniquely modern hero. After being forced out of a Wall Street firm in the wake of a major scandal, Kit Deleeuw becomes a part-time househusband and the only private investigator in Rochambeau, N.J., an affluent small town near New York City. When a teenage couple is found dead one winter's night, the local police conclude that the boy murdered the girl, then committed suicide. The evidence fails to convince the teens' friends, however, and they hire Kit to find the real killer. An elderly woman is wounded by a man wearing a stovepipe hat and cape; clues link the attack not only to the teens' deaths but to a killing spree of a hundred years earlier. As ominous events continue to darken the community, Kit and his wife, a therapist, decide that someone is trying to send the people of Rochambeau a message. But what could it be? Kit doggedly pursues his investigation while juggling visits to the pediatrician and teacher conferences. Katz's ( Sign Off ) canny attentions to the subtle tensions of suburban life make this book hum with truth, despite its misleadingly silly title. (Feb.)