SUNSTROKE by Jesse Kellerman
Kirkus Star


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From the son of the bestsellers Kellerman (Faye and Jonathan), a superb debut thriller about love, lust, vengeance, murder and a good girl coping.

Okay, so Gloria Mendez at 36 is past her first girlhood. But good she is. Probably too good for her own good, as is evident from her behavior when her boss, Carl Perreira, owner-operator of Caperco Mask and Novelty, Inc., suddenly goes missing. The world isn’t full of people, for instance, who would unhesitatingly get into a car and drive the ten hours from L.A. to Aguas Vivas, Mexico, out of a sense of obligation, out of the conviction that good girls bear witness. But bear witness to what? Excellent question, and not one to which Gloria can give a conventional answer. Still, “Take care of things while I’m gone,” Carl’s note had said, and, Gloria being Gloria, she sets about trying to do exactly that. In Aguas Vivas, however, a sun-blasted town that time forgot, she runs into obstacles. She knows that something bad has happened to Carl there. How bad? And where is he? How many unsuspected identities does he have, this man with whom she’s worked side by side for a decade? And, gulp, is he still alive? Questions and more questions, all unsettling, as is the motley array that turns out to be her only source for answers. There’s the gravestone cutter competing for market share with his dead half brother, the drunken Mexican cop intent on dragging her into his bed, a seven-year-old who computes like Einstein and the gorgeous hunk claiming to be Carl’s long-lost son, who dazzles her, rattles her and scares the very daylights out of her.

Funny, exciting and stylishly written—a delicious tour de force not to be missed.

Pub Date: Jan. 5th, 2006
ISBN: 0-399-15330-6
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2005


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