NIGHT OF THE PANTHER by E.C. Ayres

NIGHT OF THE PANTHER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 The conventional picture of Florida's theme parks, lush condos, and early-bird dinners gets short shrift here as Ayres homes in on southern Florida's alligator-infested Big Cypress Swamp, bordered by hunting preserves, protected state lands, and miles of citrus groves. It's here that p.i./photographer Tony Lowell (Eye of the Gator, 1995, etc.) has arrived, asked by Collier County Police Lt. Lena Bedrosian to investigate the death of her cousin Marge Pappas, a Fish and Game officer, shot to death near her camp in the swamp, the killing labeled a hunting accident. What Tony finds is obstruction at every turn: an obvious cover-up by surly policemen Kohler and Vega; a nastily licentious bar owner- -Duvall Patterson, with a put-upon wife and a usually drunken son Billy whom Tony befriends; a home-grown militia of anti-everything louts; and the trophy-obsessed members of the Caloosahatchee Hunt and Gun Club, in cahoots with State Representative Bob Hathcock to engineer a land steal that will mostly benefit millionaire landowner Quentin Lejeune. Making his way from one dangerous encounter to another, with Lena's life on the line as the end draws near, Tony finally gets to the very ugly truth and an almost incidental killer. A heavily detailed look at roads less traveled, a scary take on the lunatic fringe, some quirky characters, and an unflappable detective--all make the third in this series the liveliest and most readable of Lowell's adventures yet.

Pub Date: May 14th, 1997
ISBN: 0-312-15607-3
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1997




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