“It’s a bad movie. Like a bad Hitchcock,” New York Chief Assistant DA Rick Corinth tells one of the women he’s alleged to have raped. Actually, it’s like some excellent Hitchcock—The 39 Steps, North by Northwest, Frenzy—and it’s pretty doggone good.
It can’t be happening, but it is. Rick just happens to know all but one of the women who’ve been assaulted in New York and nearby New Jersey, and except for the very first victim, investment banker Diane Nethersong, they all stand ready to testify that their assailant was him. The accusations from all these women, each more gorgeous than the last, are hard to take, but none harder (or harder to believe) than that of his ex-wife Ali. With his career in the toilet and his arrest only hours away despite his unexpectedly torrid friendship with Betsy Spaeth, the head detective on the case, Rick does what any red-blooded citizen would do: empties his bank account, flees the city and resolves to find the rapist who’s evidently taken considerable pains to frame him. He considers in succession his friend, jurist Carter Denison; Roger Hazzard, the presiding partner of his former law firm; Betsy Spaeth, who may be seeking revenge for her own gang rape years ago; developer Bob Hayden, Ali’s current squeeze; and eventually himself, the perfect suspect because he’s always been prone to blackouts. Hruska (Borrowed Time, 1985) unfolds his story with efficiency and a sharp eye for the escalating misfortunes that can befall heroes under pressure.
Perfect late-night reading, as long as you don’t mind all the back-loaded twists that pile up toward 3 a.m.