CROOK'S HILL by Peter Fritze

CROOK'S HILL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In Fritze’s (False Guilt, 2015, etc.) thriller, suspicious deaths, other illegal business, and family secrets cause havoc in the lives of two brothers.

Ontario lawyer Alan Boltby feels reflective following the death of his father, so he contacts his ex-girlfriend, New York City–based lawyer Akeena Mendes. She’s the chief compliance officer at Alan’s older brother James’ successful hedge fund, Spring Woods Asset Management. After she and Alan meet for dinner in New York, he decides to patch up his strained relationship with James. However, after he witnesses James and his ex-girlfriend’s opulent lifestyle, he resents that his older brother was left the family farm, Crook’s Hill. Akeena was recently approached by Harvey Jerome, who threatened to go public with proof that SWAM participated in insider trading—if they didn’t wire $3 million into his offshore account. She informed James’ partner, Leonard Kosky, who ignored her concern. Then Jerome was found dead. When Akeena is later killed in a hit-and-run, Alan agrees to take over her job at SWAM, where he finds a revealing memo. After he recalls seeing a mysterious woman loitering outside Akeena’s place, he wonders whether there’s a connection between the two recent deaths. Enlisting the help of SWAM’s tech expert Greg Wilkinson, he launches his own investigation. Simultaneously, the novel follows Sara Ramachandran, a young woman who’s evading her abusive photographer ex, Philip Braun. Sara and Alan’s narratives eventually intersect in a shocking way. Fritze’s well-paced book is full of creative, unexpected twists that will keep readers engaged. The settings of a small Canadian town and the New York streets are vividly depicted, often functioning as a secondary character to the scene, as in this description of Alan’s Canadian hometown: “Alan drove...over moraines and streams, past other farms with islands of forest, until King Street emerged and he parked in front of a stately Spring Woods home with a deep, manicured lawn”; later, there’s a mention of “the town’s only lit intersection.” The characters’ back stories are ample, and flashback-centered chapters provide plenty of context for the Boltby brothers’ strained relationship.

A gripping story of suspense, laced with heavy emotion and family drama.

Pub Date: Feb. 5th, 2018
Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher
Program: Kirkus Indie
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