cover image Sniper's Moon

Sniper's Moon

Carsten Stroud. Bantam Books, $18.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-553-07004-0

Stroud's first novel (after the bestselling Close Pursuit ) is a standout, with an ingenious plot, suspenseful pacing and strong, gritty dialogue. Vietnam vet Frank Keogh is a sniper in the Emergency Services Unit of the NYPD. His job is to kill gunmen who are holding hostages; accuracy and steel nerves are vital. Keogh is expert at his job, perhaps too much so. He seems to find an inordinate joy in disposing of his unsuspecting targets. When a cop with whom he has quarreled and a woman with whom he is having an affair both die violently, under gruesomely similar circumstances, a warrant is issued for Keogh's arrest. He flees, confirming his ``guilt,'' and the story unfolds with surprises at every turn. The author evokes the shadowed world of the NYPD with cynical realism. ``This is the city of the Big Fix--the whole fucking place is on the pad,'' one of Keogh's colleagues says. Stroud's taut descriptions of NYC neighborhoods, his portrayal of an ethnically mixed population, are right on target; his nuanced characterizations of fallible men and the women they love impart a basic credibility to this taut thriller. Film rights to 20th Century Fox. (Oct.)