by Mitchell Smith ‧ RELEASE DATE: Jan. 13, 1997
An engrossing blue-collar thriller from Smith (Karma, 1994, etc.) in which an ex-con, almost ready to go straight, taps underworld contacts for help in tracking down the serial killer who butchered his daughter. Recently released from a Kansas penitentiary where he did seven years for bank robbery, Tyler Pierce ekes out a living as a roofing contractor in rural Missouri. While getting his life back in order, however, he can't resist returning to the violent trade that earned him big money and the sobriquet Iceman. After a successful but bloody heist that nets him nearly $900,000, Tyler returns home to learn that his daughter Lisa has been knifed to death in Florida, where she worked as a park ranger. She's the latest of six victims authorities believe to have been slain by a single assassin. The narrative makes clear early on that the murderer is Karen Yeager, a closet maniac obsessively intent on reuniting certain young women with the babies they had aborted at the clinic where she works as a nurse. Tyler goes hunting for the murderer; but even with the gabby assistance of Naomi Cohen, an aging hooker hired to guide him around unfamiliar territory, he has trouble picking up the trail of the personable psycho who deems herself an avenging angel. Feisty Naomi, however, more than earns her keep with resourceful investigatory talents and a detailed knowledge of the redneck power structure--though, even so, Tyler manages to run afoul of a local narcotics ring. At length, he and Naomi learn what links five of the dead women, though not before the outlaw sleuth is left for dead by the druglord's thugs in a cypress swamp as a hurricane is about to strike. When Naomi meets a particularly unpleasant end, Tyler takes but cold comfort in bringing crazy Karen to a rough kind of justice. A gritty and bleakly gripping walk on the wild side of the Sunbelt.
Pub Date: Jan. 13, 1997
Page Count: 364
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1996
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