cover image The Prodigal Son: 
A Carmine Delmonico Novel

The Prodigal Son: A Carmine Delmonico Novel

Colleen McCullough. Simon & Schuster, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4516-6875-9

In the prologue of McCullough’s disappointing fourth novel featuring Capt. Carmine Delmonico of the Holloman, Conn., police department (after 2010’s Naked Cruelty), John Hall, a long-lost heir recently arrived from Oregon, dies from a lethal injection of a stolen toxin at a black-tie family party held on the evening of January 3, 1969. Delmonico, who investigates Hall’s murder and two other grisly poisoning deaths, has a personal interest in the crime—his medical examiner cousin’s daughter was the keeper of the pilfered poison. Suspects include relatives who were slated to lose large amounts of money from Hall’s reappearance as well as ambitious faculty members from the town’s Chubb University. A far-fetched premise, lengthy passages of exposition, unconvincing characters and dialogue, and a lack of attention to accurate period detail will cause the reader to lose interest well before the end. Agent: Michael Carlisle, Inkwell Management. (Nov.)