THE BIG SCORE by Michael Kilian


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 An artist is drawn back into his family's rather sordid business and into the orbit of an odious Trump-style real-estate developer in Chicago. Kilian's most recent imperiled WASP thriller was The Last Virginia Gentleman (1992). The Curlands of Chicago have pretty much hit the skids. Matthias Curland--one-time architect, crafty yachtsman, and hero of this well-mannered novel of midwestern manners and murder--has gone nowhere as an artist in Europe. His brother, Christian, paints and cossets Chicago society ladies and accepts gifts from them. Their father, who ran the family architectural firm into the ground, is slipping into dementia, and their unpleasant mother has just slipped off to the big jewelry department in the sky. Only the dog-rearing suburban sister has done at all well. Back in Illinois for mum's funeral, Matthias picks up with an old flame just before meeting and becoming intrigued with Diandra Poe, wife of Chicago's most flamboyant zillionaire. Peter Poe, a world-class rat with an exceptionally vicious secretary, appears to be giving Mrs. Poe the high sign to hop into bed with Matthias. What could the condoned cuckoldry have to do with hubby's plans to build the tallest building in the universe, his selection of Matthias as house architect, conversion of the lakefront airport, the Curland family museum, or the bullet holes in the stolen artwork found on the body of Matthias's old girlfriend on the derelict yacht that floated into the bailiwick of a Michigan police chief with roots in Chicago? Matthias and the cop sort it all out together. There are no cliffs from which to hang in the Midwest, but there is that lovely big lake, so there's a modestly tense yacht race. Most of the characters are repellent, but if Kilian ever slides over to mysteries, Chief Zany Rawlings would do nicely in a recurring role.

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 1993
ISBN: 0-312-09925-8
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1993


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