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Almost-married Miami lawyers Gail O’Connor and Anthony Quintana (Suspicion of Vengeance, 2001, etc.) battle the craziest family in the Florida Keys to a TKO.

Before his 20th birthday, Billy Fadden’s already had quite a life. At eight, his discovery of his kid brother Jeremy’s drowned body sent their parents, fishing guide Kyle Fadden and his Marielito wife Teresa spiraling into divorce. At 15, suspected of burning down a neighbor’s house, he avoided conviction only because Anthony dug up so much dirt on the high-school buddy he’d allegedly confided to that the witness recanted. Now, four years later, Billy stands accused of murdering Sandra McCoy, a calculating young woman who worked at the Buttonwood Inn, the resort owned by retired Wall Street warrior Walter Greenwald and his bride Teresa—Billy’s mother. And this time the police have a powerful weapon: the confession Billy made after Joan Sinclair, his friendly neighborhood has-been actress, rescued him from a suicide attempt. Even if the confession is buried, it looks as if Anthony, the Greenwalds’ attorney, and Gail, who’s along for the ride, will have their hands full. Teri Greenwald is locked in mortal combat with Walter’s imperious sister Lois, who manages the Inn to a fare-thee-well; Joan’s nephew Doug is plotting to get the former star of The Bride of Nosferatu declared incompetent so that he can loot her estate; and Anthony, Gail realizes, desperately needs to find Billy innocent, or he’ll know he dropped the ball big-time when he got him off that arson charge. There’s much, much more, from a raft of thoroughly unsavory suspects to back-to-back hairsbreadth escapes for Gail to that old South Florida standby, the climactic storm that sweeps the cobwebs clean.

As overstuffed as one of Joan Sinclair’s ripest films, and just as loony: a remarkable exercise in instant camp.

Pub Date: Feb. 24th, 2003
ISBN: 0-525-94681-0
Page count: 372pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2002


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