ROBAK'S FIRE by Joe L. Hensley


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Lawyer-sleuth Don Robak (Outcasts, Robak's Cross, etc.) returns--in a curious, lively case featuring small-town evil, low-key derring-do, and engaging snippets of courtroom drama. (Hensley is a lawyer and judge.) To help out his beloved colleagues Jake and Sam, Robak heads down from Bington, Indiana, to the foul little burg of Drewville--where Jake and Sam (representing an insurance company) are trying to prove that old rascal Avery Benjamin didn't die in his burning house two years back. In fact, several locals have seen Avery alive much more recently. But no one wants to testify--because the town's power-elite, including a creepy, violent sheriff, is in full support of the insurance-claim by Avery Benjamin's heirs: sexy wife #2 Hilda and two thuggish sons by a previous marriage (to religious fanatic Cherry). Thus, Robak's efforts--to round up witnesses, to find Avery's post-fire hide-out--meet with resistance, some of it near-fatal. (A previous lawyer on the case died in a suspicious car-crash). But, with help from the local kids at the Burger King, Robak survives assaults and fires, figures out who really died in that fire, and unmasks a (not-entirely-convincing) psycho-killer. So-so as mystery, then, but solidly diverting as a mixture of action, dark social comedy, and quiet Robak-ian charm.

Pub Date: Nov. 7th, 1986
Publisher: Doubleday