cover image The Triggerman's Dance

The Triggerman's Dance

T. Jefferson Parker. Hyperion Books, $21.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-6142-2

Through four California-set novels (most recently, Summer of Fear, 1993), Parker has proved himself a gifted thriller writer, his suspenseful plots enriched by fertile prose and characters whose depths are revealed in the harsh light of violence. The author's fifth novel, a taut tale of a man undercover, will enhance his reputation. Orange County Journal reporter Rebecca Harris had two men in her life--her lover and former colleague, John Menden, and her fiance, FBI agent Joshua Weinstein. Now Rebecca is dead, killed by a sniper who meant to slay a left-wing columnist. Weinstein spends the six months after the shooting building a file on the man behind Rebecca's death: ex-FBI agent Vann Holt, now operating a private security firm in the California hills, is incensed at the columnist for her role, years earlier, in the vengeance-killing of Holt's son. Weinstein calls on Menden, a blond WASP, to infiltrate Holt's organization and find solid evidence linking Holt to Rebecca's death. Menden's mission grows more complicated when somebody close to Holt begins to feed the newsman incriminating information about Holt, and especially when Menden begins to fall for Holt's daughter, with whom the newsman can be neither honest nor close, for Rebecca's death is still an open wound--or is it? The narrative flows smoothly between present and past tense, floating the reader into ever darker, more mysterious waters. Ultimately, this is a novel of questions, not answers--questions about identity, shifting loyalties and the price of vengeance--and therein, as much as in its crafty plotting, lies its intelligence and excitement. $125,000 ad/promo; author tour. (July)