cover image House of Secrets

House of Secrets

Richard Hawke, . . Random, $25 (351pp) ISBN 978-1-4000-6608-7

Extramarital sex leads New York Sen. Andy Foster into major trouble near the start of this mildly suspenseful if overly familiar stand-alone thriller from the pseudonymous Hawke (aka Tim Cockey). Andy's tryst with political consultant Joy Resnick at her lonely beachfront cottage is interrupted by a madman, who crashes into the bedroom, kills Joy, and gives Andy a serious whack on the head. A low-level Russian mobster, Dimitri Bulakov, catches the entire scene on camera. Hawke then turns to stock characters and situations: politicians with evil agendas, a behind-the-scenes puppet master, and a child kidnapping cranked up to supply an infusion of action into the latter pages. Hawke (Cold Day in Hell ) handles these themes well enough, but the ambiguous nature of his main character deflates much of the tension. Is Andy a good person who makes mistakes, or a bad person who gets away with too much? Readers will have to decide for themselves. (May)