cover image Predators


Frederick J. Ramsay, . . Poisoned Pen, $24.95 (251pp) ISBN 978-1-59058-684-6

Through parallel stories, Ramsay's clever stand-alone shows the ruthlessness of the business and the animal worlds without resorting to gimmickry. Sekoa, an aging, mortally ill lion, is being forced out by younger rivals and hyenas on the Botswana plains. Meanwhile, Leo Painter, a Chicago energy czar with a bad heart, is up against ambitious employees and greedy relatives. While Sekoa stands up to his rivals, Painter and his entourage come to Botswana to build a resort/casino. Painter's callous nature has alienated him from his stepson, Bobby Griswold, who has “the brains of a guppy,” and Bobby's wife, Brenda, a former stripper. Painter's business plan would leave the Griswolds without any money, but not, the couple learns, if the old man dies first and his will remains intact. Ramsay (Impulse ) matches keen characterizations with an obvious affection for Botswana, a complicated country that's more than Alexander McCall Smith's “quaint mysteries,” as one character observes. (Dec.)