Maxim (Time Out of Mind, 1986, etc.) forsakes the astral plane for a suspenser whose down-and-dirty plot tums on the...

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THE SHADOW BOX

Maxim (Time Out of Mind, 1986, etc.) forsakes the astral plane for a suspenser whose down-and-dirty plot tums on the megabuck traffic in bogus prescription drugs. Michael Fallon's charmed life suddenly goes badly wrong. His beloved uncle Jake (a political fixer with connections throughout New York City) is brutally murdered, and his fianc‚e is gunned down in a botched convenience-store robbery. Shortly thereafter, Michael is fired by the Wall Street investment firm that pays him big money to analyze the pharmaceuticals stocks, and he's assaulted on a well-lit Manhattan street. Convinced someone wants him dead as well as discredited, he goes to ground in off-season Martha's Vineyard. Back in the Big Apple, Brendan Doyle, a godfatherly lawyer, is digging into the death of his old pal Jake and the real cause of Michael's dismissal--an inquiry that eventually leads to Baron Franz Gerhard Rast von Schamhorst, an ostensibly respectable German industrialist whom Jake, years before, had forced to flee the US. The powerful head of AdlerChemiker AG, a Munich-based multinational that, among other dubious achievements, has gained working control of the lucrative global trade in counterfeit drugs, Baron Franz is mounting a belated vendetta. While young Michael's friends and foes stalk one another, he falls in love with Megan Cole (a year-round island resident with a past), buys a guest house in Edgartown, and finally discloses his whereabouts to Doyle. The body count climbs, and heavies in the pay of the vindictive baron fall to Michael & Co. in a climactic clash. With astute assistance from Doyle, the last of the Fallons is then able to settle outstanding accounts with AdCbem and its hirelings; at the close, he lights out after Megan, who needs to be convinced they have a future together. A slick, engrossing entertainment with plausibly motivated characters and chilling detail on an underground enterprise that's evidently as remunerative as narcotics.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Avon

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996