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BLACK SWAN by Chris Knopf

BLACK SWAN

By Chris Knopf

Pub Date: May 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-57962-216-9
Publisher: Permanent Press

Despite its title, Sam Acquillo’s fifth adventure has nothing to do with the movies (Hard Stop, 2009, etc.)—at least not movies about high-strung, overworked ballerinas.

As a favor to his wealthy lawyer friend Burton Lewis, engineer-turned-carpenter Sam and his girlfriend, banker-turned-contractor Amanda Anselma, are sailing Burton’s boat, Carpe Mañana, down from Maine when rough seas on Long Island Sound force them to put in at Fishers Island. Christian Fey, the retired computer genius of Subversive Technologies, is less than enthusiastic about putting them up at the Black Swan, the inn he’s recently purchased, and his son Axel, an autistic savant, is no more effusive. But Fey’s daughter Anika welcomes Sam with open arms and bedclothes. The Edenic temptations she offers are complemented by the arrival of the serpent Derrick Hammon, Subversive’s new CEO, with an entourage that includes his put-upon female companion Del Rey; Bernard ’t Hooft, who’s more than just muscle, and Jock and Pierre, who are just muscle. The guest list is completed by Subversive co-founder Myron Sanderfreud, who’s barely checked in when he checks out, and his wife Grace, whose role is limited to screaming. When the island’s sole law-enforcement officer is beaten nearly to death and her replacement locked in a cell in his own jail, it’s obvious that the winds have blown in quite another screenplay, this one from Key Largo, and that only Sam has the stuff to play the Bogart role.

Reliable, predictable thrills that don’t shame Knopf’s growing reputation but won’t advance it either.