DECEPTION PASS by Earl Emerson


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 What dire secret could make Lainie Smith, Seattle's well- heeled answer to Mother Teresa, vulnerable to blackmail? Whatever it is, it's something she's been paying $2,000 a week to keep quiet--and something she doesn't want to share with her lawyer, Kathy Birchfield, or Kathy's husband, private eye Thomas Black (The Million-Dollar Tattoo, 1996, etc.). Thomas doesn't insist on knowing Lainie's secret, but as he gets deeper into the case- -trailing the two men who pick up the latest two grand, searching the lair he's tracked one of them to, dispensing his trademark similes (one craven suspect has ``an alibi prepared like a frozen dinner in the freezer'')--he can hardly help finding out what it is. And it's dynamite, something it's no wonder Lainie didn't want him to know: Seventeen years ago she was present with recently executed Charlie Groth when four friends vacationing in a cabin on Whidbey Island were massacred. Was Lainie, as she quaveringly maintains, only a drugged-out witness to her boyfriend's madness? How deep does her complicity go? And how did her blackmailers get the goods on her? Most of the people who could answer these questions are dead--and now more, it seems, are following them. The nightmare that haunts Lainie's past is so horrific that Thomas's fans will surely overlook the slapdash details of its exhumation (suspects suddenly tripping over each other in their haste to clear themselves) in his grimmest outing in years. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-345-40068-2
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1997


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