An architect catering to the spectacularly well-connected extends his services to the permanent removal of family aesthetic problems. Anaesthetics and Yale’s top secret society figure heavily.
Ablow sets his recurring alcoholic FBI psychiatrist Frank Clevenger (Murder Suicide, 2004, etc.) to the task of identifying the culprit behind a string of spectacularly revolting murders. The modus operandi of the fiend (revealed early on as a brilliant architect West Crosse) is to first chloroform, then to lethally inject his victim and, for rather hazy reasons, dissects one of the victim’s body parts. In hotel rooms. On plastic sheets. With special silver pins. Clevenger’s detective work is complicated both by what appears to be a conspiracy of silence among the families of the victims and by his own long list of personal problems. The latter include the son Clevenger adopted to save himself from a life of crime—though that seems to be his fate; the FBI associate girlfriend who runs hot and cold; and Clevenger’s unsuccessful battle to stay off the bottle. Juggling the domestic woes and gobbling Antabuse (makes liquor disgusting), Clevenger interviews the victims’ wealthy families and finds that they’re united by their employment of an architect whose identity they will not reveal, by their relief at having the victims removed from their lives and by their ties to Yale and its notorious Skull and Bones. And—say! Isn’t the president . . . ? Indeed he is. And his wife has just called in architect Crosse to come up with the first major addition to the White House since the Truman revamp. Oh, no! What if the president has a family problem!? Like, maybe, an unwed daughter who has just gotten pregnant? You don’t suppose. . . !
A thriller for those whose lives were ruined, just ruined, by the Kerry loss.