DEARLY DEPARTED by David Housewright


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212 days after Alison Emerton disappears, her husband’s attorney asks Holland Taylor if he—ll start looking for her. Since litigation-happy lawyer Hunter Truman’s closest prior approach to Twin Cities p.i. Taylor (Penance, 1995; Practice to Deceive, 1997) was to sue him, Taylor wonders why Truman’s chosen him for this work—and why Alison’s boorish husband Stephen seems so little concerned about Alison’s reports that rapist Raymond Fleck was stalking her. When he starts to talk to the people who knew Alison best, though, Taylor gets the first inkling that this is going to be a chimera of a case, one as hard to hold onto as a greased pig. Fleck guilelessly admits his interest in Alison but says she returned it with interest. When Taylor attacks Fleck’s alibi and gets the cops to arrest two different suspects, at least one of whom is obviously covering for the other, it ought to be a great day (even if it—ll mark the last of Truman’s $400 daily paychecks). But Taylor, still unsatisfied, suddenly gets a completely new idea about what happened to Alison, and takes off for the Wisconsin town of Deer Lake to dodge bullets, dish dirt about a new local casino, share drinks and conversation with its presumptive Native American owners, and follow Alison’s loyal friends around very, very closely. Understated, literate, and tricky as they come, even if the last few surprises aren—t up to the first dozen.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-393-04771-7
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Norton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1999


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