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HOAX by Robert K. Tanenbaum


by Robert K. Tanenbaum

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-7434-5288-7
Publisher: Atria

Long-running series hero Butch Karp prosecutes a young rapper for murder while wife Marlene seeks spiritual peace in New Mexico. Both get more than they bargained for.

As righteous Karp (Resolved, 2003, etc.) contemplates a dive into the dirty world of politics with a run for New York District Attorney, challenges both professional and personal confront him. After an altercation stemming from a rap duel at the midtown Hip-Hop Nightclub, black rap musician ML Rex and three of his posse are gunned down in their limo. Suspicion falls on ex-convict and aspiring rapper Alejandro Garcia, ML Rex’s opponent in the nightclub showdown. On deck to prosecute the alleged killer, Karp is chagrined to find that his twin teenaged sons, Zak and Giancarlo, were at the club that night instead of studying for their upcoming bar mitzvahs, as they told their father they would be. Despite being genuinely uncertain about his political run, Karp finds that everyone else, including special assistant Gilbert Murrow, considers his candidacy a fait accompli. Karp gets incensed at a Waldorf Astoria fundraiser when unctuous would-be mayor Andrew Kane presumes to speak to him as a future employee and maneuvers a photo op with him; they have words. We learn that Kane is a villain of Machiavellian proportions, a sociopathic child of incest who (just for starters) blackmails his father into committing suicide. Across the country, meanwhile, Karp’s wife Marlene, having battled terrorists and other criminal scum for years, has finally suffered an emotional toll. She and daughter Lucy are at a spiritual retreat run by crusading ex-cop John Jojola in Taos, where (characteristically) Marlene gets embroiled in the search for a local serial killer preying on children.

In vigorous and full-bodied prose, Tanenbaum gives dimension to a large cast of characters and holds your interest—even when some aspects of his plot veer into implausibility.