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Retired from baseball to live the simple life in upstate Minnesota with his journalist bride Carol Long, Gun Pedersen (debuting in hardcover following four paperback mysteries) returns a phone call from his screenwriter friend/not-quite-lover Diane Apple and lets loose a Pandora's box of demons. Before he can get in touch with her to cancel their meeting after an Old Timers' Game, Diane's been kidnapped, raped, and murdered by three men in a Minneapolis taxi; Carol, who's been digging up dirt for a series on teen prostitution at the Hawk Lake Casino and fielding threatening phone calls of her own, hints broadly that she'd be very pleased to have him check out of the Twin Cities without turning himself into a one-man vengeance squad. Witnesses high and low -- from Dottle, the 13-year-old hooker Carol had rescued from the racket, to the experienced pro who'd taken Dottle in, to the witness who saw the fatal cab pick Diane up, to the casino's exsecurity chief -- start disappearing, turning up (if at all) in a walk-in freezer in no condition to talk. The aptly named Gun, as Carol had feared, not only pursues the villains with a holy zeal, but dispatches two of the worst offenders himself. A testosterone cocktail in which the supporting actresses get victimized and idealized and wring their hands while right-minded Mike Hammers of the Great Lakes mete out the roughest justice imaginable.

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 1994
Page count: 275pp
Publisher: Penzler/Macmillan