DIAMOND HEAD by Charles Knief


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 Knief won the 1995 St. Martin's/PWA Best First Private Eye contest with this high-spirited, high-casualty tale of an ex-Navy SEAL's attempt to repay his old commanding officer, Vice Admiral Winston MacGruder III, for saving his life by avenging the rape and murder of MacGruder's daughter Mary. Under the Aloha State's idyllic skies, John Caine (``I hate being soft'') first does his homework by getting well-connected Chawlie Choy to procure him a copy of the police file on the case, then asks just enough questions to lead him to Mary's ex-boyfriend Carter Allen Thompson. Thompson is one tough hombre, a sculpted capitalist who makes rough-trade videos for the Asian market, but it isn't clear just how tough he is until Chawlie's plans to flush him out by a little undercover work backfire, with disastrous results for the undercover ops. Tossed off Thompson's yacht in handcuffs and weight belt, Caine, like a cross between Travis McGee and the Saint, cripples the boat, kills the monster shark on his track, and returns to deal Thompson bloody vengeance. Equally hard- bitten readers may find some amusement in guessing which of his allies--his SEAL buddy, the Chinatown mogul, the lovely cop who's dug out a bullet and taken him to bed--will survive till the final fadeout. Fast-moving derring-do, with the women all comely and open- minded, and the men rough-hewn, studly, and armed to the teeth.

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1996
ISBN: 0-312-14558-6
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1996


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