RIDING THE SNAKE by Stephen J. Cannell


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She’s a cop under a cloud; he’s a country club wastrel. Together, believe it or not, they subdue a ferocious cabal of international gangsters. Not just any ferocious cabal. This is the Triad, for heaven’s sake. Chinese in origin, it deals in drugs, prostitution, and general wickedness, while featuring a blend of gratuitous cruelty and untrammeled ruthlessness the Mafia can only aspire to. Wheeler Cassidy (the wastrel) discovers that his kid brother Prescott, the family’s shining star, has in some way become Triad-connected—and then Triad-eliminated, when he attempts to break the connection. How to explain this? What could a rich, eminently successful young lawyer have in common with evil incarnate? To Wheeler, the LAPD appears somewhat detached in its efforts to shed light on the murkiness surrounding Prescott’s death—except, that is, for Detective Tanisha Williams, who’s interested, all right. Black, gorgeous, but distrusted by the brass for reasons more racial than rational, she sees the mysterious murder as an opportunity to get her career back on track. And Wheeler sees it as a chance to get his life back on track. Despite initial antipathy, the two hook up. The Triad trail leads them to Hong Kong, where events further diminish barriers of color and class. Bullets fly, colleagues die, and mutual dependency grows apace. Back in L.A., Wheeler and Tanisha net their super-villain only to find themselves faced with a nuclear bomb threat. Not to worry. By this time they—re thoroughly gone on each other, and love conquers all even nuclear bomb threats. Before this fourth novel (King Con, 1997, etc.), Cannell created TV’s The Rockford Files—wry, fresh, understated, and character-driven. His fiction cries out for the same qualitites. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Oct. 7th, 1998
ISBN: 0-688-15805-6
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1998


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