cover image Prized Possessions

Prized Possessions

Laurali R. Wright, L. R. Wright. Viking Books, $19 (272pp) ISBN 978-0-670-84565-1

Forsaking the procedural leanings of her earlier novels featuring Vancouver, B.C., Staff Sgt. Karl Alberg, Wright ( Fall from Grace ) here traces two resonating plots of psychological dysfunction, criss-crossing them in the final sections to grim and unforgettable effect. Emma O'Brea wakens to find her husband Charlie pointing a gun at her head. A year passes. Charlie vanishes in a carefully rehearsed manner and Emma hires Alberg to make a freelance search. The sergeant, facing his 50s and his growing attachment to his lover Cassandra, finds out there may be more behind Charlie's disappearance than the man's simply being a cad. Meanwhile, across town, a young man named Eddie delivering groceries to Melanie, a college girl, loses his temper at her alleged insult. Depicting Eddie as none-too-bright, impulsive and crude, Wright also renders him sympathetic as the youth manages an apology; but angered anew at Melanie's lack of response, Eddie takes his woes to a friend who helps him plan revenge. Expertly bringing both plots into collision, Wright serves up justice in a swift and unexpected fashion. (Sept.)