THE TRIGGERMAN'S DANCE by T. Jefferson Parker


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An overcooked revenge fantasy from a sometime (some other time) master of the genre (Summer of Fear, 1993, etc.). When intern Rebecca Harris was shot down in mistake for her boss, Orange County Journal columnist Susan Baum, she left two inconsolable mourners behind: her fiance, FBI agent Joshua Weinstein, and her secret lover, Journal reporter John Menden. Six months later, Menden's retired to a small-town paper and a dilapidated trailer, but Weinstein hasn't wasted his time: He's satisfied himself that Rebecca was killed by Vann Holt, a Feebee-turned-private-security-king, who was out for revenge against Baum's public defense of the man who killed Holt's own son and left his wife paralyzed. Weinstein, who doesn't have enough on Holt to put him away, wants Menden to meetcute with the target, worm his way into Liberty Ridge, the Holt compound, and get the goods on him. So Menden, via an elaborate FBI-scripted scenario, saves Holt's eligible daughter Valerie from a fate worse than death, runs the gauntlet of suspicious underlings at Liberty Ridge, and finds things getting entirely too cozy. Carolyn Holt is convinced he's her dead son; Valerie is coming on to him like a house afire; and soon Meriden is ablaze, too. Meantime, Holt's thuggish assistant Lane Fargo is upping his surveillance on the interloper, and the FBI is warned that they have only six more days to close the case before they're pulled off. Does any of this sound familiar? All right, the original stroke here--the tear-soaked alliance between Weinstein and Menden--is handled with all the intensity you'd expect from Parker; but it isn't enough to justify the ill-advised presumption, signaled by gallons of pressure on our man Menden, that we don't all know exactly where this is all headed. Well-turned-out, if you can ignore the striking lack of originality. But it does seem unwise to pit such familiar fare against summer reruns on TV.
Pub Date: July 4th, 1996
ISBN: 0-7868-6142-8
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1996


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