BLACKBIRD SINGING by Jay Amberg

BLACKBIRD SINGING

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Hefty thriller/police procedural, from the author of Deep Gold (paperback), that seems pretty much done by the numbers until its wilder heart is revealed. Tonya Walker, the athletic nine-year-old daughter of Chicago Bulls star Robert ""Sky"" Walker, is kidnaped from her gym by paranoid backer James Robert Saville, who chains her up in his Command Center, takes photos of her naked, and sends them to the media without making any ransom demands. Hot on the case is Chicago's top investigator, Commander Tom Hopkins, who wonders why the media is getting all the news leaks, though it's true that Sky Walker's brilliant, short-tempered wife, Monique Jones-Walker, is a starry, internationally adored anchorwoman. Soon the photographs are followed by crazy e-mail messages and faxes (the novel's title comes from Saville's favorite song, Paul McCartney's ""Blackbird singing in the dead of night . . . ""). Hopkins himself has a 17-year-old daughter, Carl, and Saville has an eye for her as well. While Sky Walker's various sponsors, Reebok and so on, pool a $12 million reward offer, Saville in his Command Center watches the entire media circus grow as if he were ringmaster, hurrahs all, and juggles the corporate books of Walker's agent. As the search goes on, Hopkins--once known as the Hoopmeister for his solid basketball prowess back in Deerfield--learns that fellow Deerfield student Saville is the perp. Saville dropped out early and was packed away in a military academy by his mean mother, TV's first anchorwoman 25 years ago, who had smashed and maimed his hand. Before running off from military school, he'd become a highly skilled computer hacker. Slowly, Hopkins realizes that Saville's attack on Monique Jones-Walker is really an attack on his own mother and payback for his lost sister Sarah. Like Hannibal Lecter, the bonkers Saville gets away free--and will, no doubt, be back to play another day. Builds nicely, then deftly bends one's expectations.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1998
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Forge/Tor