A simmering midlife dropout’s attempt to live below the radar in the Hamptons is torpedoed when the old lady next door dies.
There’s no reason to assume that Regina Broadbent, floating in her bathtub, died anything but a natural death—unless you happen to know that almost any plug would have let the water empty several days ago and that Regina’s arthritis confined her to showers. Sam Acquillo knows the first of these because he used to work as an industrial designer, and the second because Regina’s practically the only person he’s been connected to since his wife and daughter left him after he punched out the board chairman. The latter was plotting to sell his cash-cow corporate division out from under him. Because Sam has little to do but tinker around his house and sip vodka, it’s no trouble for him to accost Regina’s surly nephew and suggest that he appoint Sam administrator of her estate, and then to poke around enough to find that Regina didn’t own her house but didn’t pay rent either. In fact, Regina’s life, which seemed even quieter than Sam’s, barely kept the lid on an elaborate scheme Sam and his more-than–personal banker Amanda Battiston will expose if only they aren’t stopped by some menacing types you wouldn’t expect in such a high-rent district.
In this first of a series, Knopf turns a mean sentence, and his debut manages to make Sam’s charged flashbacks more interesting than the main event.