Tight-lipped, once formidable Marcus (Dutch) Gillespie is 79. Behind him is a life both blessed and cursed--a successful career in banking; four children by a first wife who died in her final childbirth; then remarriage at 50 and three more children with the dazzling, 20-year-old Natalie; and already again he's a widower-- the strangled body of his beautiful Natalie found in a local park, the murderer never apprehended. Now, 16 years have passed, and tragedy has stuck again. The children, some with families of their own, gather from their various Chicago area homes and elsewhere, to console Dutch and each other--but strange, secret currents run beneath the outward affection, and there are more calamitous events to come before the truth about past and present is revealed. This robust, sometimes graphic, but always sensitive first novel combines a psychologically acute study of turbulent family relationships with its gripping, solidly plotted detective story. A powerful talent--and a striking debut.