cover image The Ties That Bind: A Fiona Fitzgerald Novel

The Ties That Bind: A Fiona Fitzgerald Novel

Warren Adler. Dutton Books, $19.95 (224pp) ISBN 978-1-55611-395-6

Adler's newest mystery featuring Washington, D.C., cop Fiona FitzGerald, last seen in The Witch of Watergate , is a forceful story sandwiched between a sanctimonious start and a sensationalized ending. The death of a young woman found bound and sexually abused in a hotel room spurs Fiona and her new partner, the statuesque, African American Gail Prentiss, to a chapter of female commiseration. Like Fiona and Gail, the dead woman was socially connected and drop-dead beautiful. The manner of death leads the puritanical Gail to a young lawyer known to lean towards rough sex. But the killing strikes a deeper emotion in Fiona, as the graffiti-adorned body of the girl bears a striking resemblance to her own flesh following a kinky session with her former lover Farley Lipscomb, who is now a Supreme Court Associate Justice. Although the list of suspects is scant, Adler deftly blends in other plot ingredients; now deeply ambivalent about submissive/dominant sex, Fiona's desire for revenge against Farley impairs both her partnership with Gail and the investigation. The blockbuster ending, although prepared for by the earlier whips-and-chains material, has an exaggerated, comics-like tone, leaving this tale flawed in the places that count the most in crime fiction. (May)