cover image Corruption


Andrew Klavan. William Morrow & Company, $23 (332pp) ISBN 978-0-688-11816-7

Barbed prose and characters as pungent as the smell of ozone during a lightning storm spark a timeworn plot in Klavan's ( The Animal Hour) latest crime thriller. In upstate New York, local boss Sheriff Cyrus Dolittle has been under steady attack for years from Sally Dawes, the drab, 41-year-old bureau chief for the Daily Champion. But even while Sally tossed minor, irksome roadblocks in his way, Dolittle consolidated power through political favors and cover-ups. Now Dolittle's candidate stands to win the County Executive election and Sally vows to stop him. At the same time, handsome Harvard grad Sid Merriwether, son of a director of the Champion 's parent company, signs on as a fledgling reporter and discovers a fire for journalism and a lust for plain, enigmatic Sally. Sally assigns Sid and his aesthetic opposite, troll-like Ernie Rumplemeyer, to investigate the death of a realtor with Dolittle connections. After the boyfriend of Dolittle's teenaged daughter is killed by the sheriff's men in a drug bust, the dead youth's mobster boss talks to Merriwether and the enraged girl dishes out the dirt to Rumplemeyer. Dolittle and his henchman put some heavy pressure on Sally and her paper. Events careen to a menacingly quiet ending as Klavan builds excruciating tension in this character-driven plot without a cheap trick or false note. (May)