HONOR BOUND by Richard Harris


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Harris' first thriller, Enemies, managed to be viscerally entertaining and intelligent at the same time--but this disappointing second novel is just dumb and violent: a sad comedown for the author of such serious reportage as Freedom Spent. The hero here is N.Y. lawyer Thomas Hasher, who is completely undone by the suicide of his foster-father/mentor, old lawyer Lucius Slocum. And Hasher now seethes with disillusionment (about the Law) and hatred for Slocum's sexy ex-wife Vivian--because it was her foul, greedy divorce suit (she ""proved"" that Slocum was thief and a pederast) that drove the old man to suicide. Hasher camps out at Slocum's country cabin; he finds Slocum's Diary; back in the city he gets still more evidence of Slocum's innocence (the black teenager who accused Slocum of seducing him was really Vivian's lover!); he quits his law firm, vows to clear the old man's name. But things promptly get out of hand--starting with Hasher's self-defense killing of that black teenager up at the cabin. (He hides the body in a cave.) Next foulup: a failed attempt to get photographic dirt on evil Vivian and her slimy lawyer-lover--who are trying to use blackmail to neutralize Hasher's vendetta. Then: Hasher's live-in love Margaret is sodomized by a strange intruder--the same psycho-murderer who seems to be following Hasher around town. And finally there's a series of showdowns up at the cabin again (""there were three of them--that evil woman, the vicious lawyer, and a mad killer""): Hasher kills again; the psycho-rapist appears in drag, reveals his incest past, indulges in some lethal sodomy; and Hasher gets yet one more whack of disillusionment. True, Hasher sometimes broods loudly about the Ability to Kill and the Immorality of Lawyers and such--but any pretense to theme here is swamped by the luridly implausible plotting, the gratuitous sex/violence kinkiness, and the crude, Spillane-ish prose.

Pub Date: June 18th, 1982
Publisher: St. Martin's