To save a beset friend, a San Francisco p.i. takes on American law enforcement, international capitalism and thugs from just about anywhere in Gore’s accomplished debut.
Jack Burch, a white-shoe lawyer who operates at a level high enough for air-sickness and complex enough to confuse even him at times, takes a bullet in the chest that San Francisco cops attribute to road rage. Well, maybe. Burch goes jogging; witnesses describe an altercation; shots are fired; the shooter flees unidentified; and Burch lands in the hospital, comatose. Essentially, that’s the story told to p.i. extraordinaire Graham Gage, Burch’s best friend. Abruptly, however, the story takes a nasty turn when it becomes clear the Department of Justice is almost as eager as Gage for Burch to recover. That’s because the Feds think Burch is guilty of certain high crimes and misdemeanors and anticipate gratifying headlines for putting him away. Helping to make the case is Stuart Matson, shifty president of SatTek Incorporated, a one-time defense contractor now coming apart at the seams. Some are convinced that Burch played a fraudulent part in the SatTek debacle. It doesn’t take Gage long to understand that Matson is a congenital liar and that the Feds are credulous simply because they want to be: Careers can be made from a juicy conviction, especially when fresh corpses drive the headlines.
A bit long, but Gore has a deft way with one-liners, and in Gage, who views the world through eyes as cool as Sam Spade’s, he has a keeper.