cover image Blood Relations: A Novel

Blood Relations: A Novel

Barbara Parker. Dutton Books, $22.95 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-525-93976-4

Once again, Parker (Suspicion of Guilt, Suspicion of Innocence--which was a finalist for the 1995 Edgar for Best First Novel) pushes legal eagles to the edge--here, in a morality tale about the fall from grace of a man, a town and a legal system. Prosecutor Sam Hagan is known for being a straight arrow, so he's the perfect choice to investigate a potentially explosive case and dismiss it for lack of evidence. Or so think both his boss, the Miami DA, who has his eye on national office and doesn't want controversy, and the city manager, who's courting the tourist industry. The plaintiff is a young model who claims that several men, including a well-connected local businessman and a football player turned actor, raped her. Hagen believes the girl and, despite political pressure, pursues the case. The stakes are raised when several of the witnesses and participants are murdered. Meanwhile, the prosecutor's marriage is cracking under the strain of his son's recent death, a situation worsened as he learns devastating details about his son's life in the fast lane. Parker intertwines a number of stories as she spins her complicated tale of sex, power and money in South Miami. Some of the coincidences and liaisons reach soap-opera proportions, but the pace never flags from the opening to the knuckle-whitening finale. 50,000 first printing; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selection; author tour. (Feb.)