Books by Michael Allegretto

GRAVE DOUBT by Michael Allegretto
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: June 1, 1995

Martin Blyleven was killed in a plane crash four years ago. So why has he been calling his widow and her second husband, threatening to sue for custody of his daughter if they don't fork over his life insurance payoff? When Jake Lomax (Blood Relative, 1992, etc.) investigates, he finds a long line of witnesses who swear that nobody could've planted a bomb, or an extra passenger, on the DenverTucson flight that killed Blyleven and pilot Larry Foster. Under Jake's persistent probing, though, cracks start to appear in the evidence. Blyleven's old boss, televangelist Franklin Reed, is inching madly away from the news that Blyleven may have risen from the grave; a crucial witness remembers things he forgot to tell the police; the Denver thugs who cross town to beat up Jake have ties to the Tucson mob. It seems that all concerned agree that whatever really happened aboard Pastor Reed's private plane, Blyleven would be better off dead.... Jake's fifth case is unsurprising but fleet and businesslike—a welcome recovery from Allegretto's last novel, the overcooked gothic Shadow House (1994). Read full book review >
SHADOW HOUSE by Michael Allegretto
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: June 27, 1994

When her photographer sister, Annie, is killed in a fall from the trellis of Colorado's Owen mansion, where she'd returned, against police orders, to get spooky pictures for a magazine assignment, Nora Honeycut vows, ``I'm going to find out what happened.... No matter what it takes.'' What it takes is a fine disregard for official indifference and threats, and a plan with Annie's beau, Thomas Whitney, to get past the keepers of the mansion—doddering old Chastity Owen and her caretaker—to find out just what misshapen horror (whom local cover-up conspirators from police chief Roy Fellows to heavy-drinking Dr. Everett Newby know as ``Willy'') is living on baby food in the windowless cupola. What in the world could Willy have to do with the Owen mansion's history of homicide (Chastity's grandfather killed his wife; her mother killed her father when he molested Chastity; and five years ago high schooler Bonnie Connor was raped and murdered on the Owen grounds)? By far the wildest of Allegretto's trying neo-gothics (The Suitor, 1992, etc.), with laughably hollow thrills and chills and a penny-dreadful hobgoblin. Free Willy. Read full book review >
THE SUITOR by Michael Allegretto
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Jan. 5, 1993

Another of Allegretto's damsel-in-distress fictions (The Watchmen; Night of Reunion). Here, Denver artist Valerie Rowe, with more charm than good sense, invites Leonard Tully, the young man who rescued her purse from a mugger, to join her and gallery owner Brenda for lunch—thereby setting in motion Leonard's passionate fantasies about getting Valerie alone. Soon he's bombarding her with phone calls, unexpected drop-ins at her house—and strangling Brenda in a parking garage and tinkering with Valerie's lover's car brakes. Finally, Leonard abducts the distraught Valerie and her son and terrorizes them in a mountain cabin. With pluck and determination, Valerie outwits the demented Leonard, then ever so cheerily survives to consider her lover's marriage proposal. A very pale, ho-hum variation on Fatal Attraction—and no match for John Fowles's classic story of obsession, The Collector. Read full book review >
BLOOD RELATIVE by Michael Allegretto
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: May 18, 1992

This time out, Denver p.i. Jake Lomax (Dead of Winter; Blood Stone; Death on the Rocks) deals with siblings and their spouses in extreme distress over wealthy, controlling dad Samuel Butler's marriage to a second wife—the flashy, trashy Clare. The unsympathetic kids seem all too willing to believe that dad, about to be tried for bashing in Clare's head, did the deed—but did he? Lomax's attempts to prove dad's alibi result in another death and two tries at taking him out: a sniper setup at a deserted golf course and a hit-and-run accident almost identical to the one that smashed up another p.i. formerly employed by the Butlers. Meanwhile, breaking and entering reveals that Butler's company payroll included a dummy employee and some accounts that received rugs with their shipments. Furthermore, Clare was cheating on dad with one of his own children, and it'll take threats, punches, and a major bullying scene before Lomax gets dad off the hook Lomax's sardonic asides add a touch of dry humor here, and the ending again finds him giving away money to a needy cause. Quick with his fists, dead accurate with his gun, the (sometimes) personable Lomax makes for solid p.i. reading. Read full book review >
THE WATCHMEN by Michael Allegretto
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

Continuing his endangered heroine endeavors (Night of Reunion, 1990), Allegretto puts landscape-planner Lauren Caylor's second marriage in jeopardy when, suddenly, cars start tailing her, new neighbors move in and spy on her, and she catches her husband telling several whoppersand acting awfully jittery. How well does she really know this man she married? Is her daughter Emily safe with him? Is she? Before his secret past is revealed, the family will be shadowed at Sea World; their phone will be tapped; the FBI will come calling; and a former mobster and his psycho sidekick will waylay them in the kitchenwhere one more secret will out, blood will spill, and the marriage will survive. A suspense story without the prime ingredientsuspense. Allegretto, who has had somewhat more success with his Jake Lomax series, needs to get out of the kitchen and back to the back alleys.*justify no* Read full book review >