cover image Providence


Geoffrey Wolff. Viking Books, $16.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-670-80461-0

Wolff's two works of nonfiction, The Duke of Deception and Black Sun, were widely and well reviewed, and this novel merits similar attention. Providence, R.I., is more than the backdrop for this intriguing tale; the city, faultlessly captured, assumes a role as crucial as those played by the main characters. Adam Dwyer is a criminal lawyer who learns that he is dying of leukemia. He and his wife Clara then receive another blow: their home is robbed by two young thugs, Skippy and Baby, who strip the family of most of their treasured belongings. Tom Corcoran, the police officer assignedto the case, becomes involved with Skippy's waitress girlfriend. Very divergent aspects of Providenceits criminal justice system; the streets of Federal Hill (home of the city's mafiosi); and the fashionable upper East Side, fertile ground for thievesbring these individuals into often violent contact with each other. Wolff's setting and characters come alive in a way that may shock and frighten some readers; all but the very squeamish will be entertained. 50,000 first printing; BOMC selection. Foreign rights: Lescher & Lescher. February