Kirkus Reviews QR Code
HELL BENT by William G. Tapply

HELL BENT

By William G. Tapply

Pub Date: Oct. 7th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-312-35830-3
Publisher: Minotaur

The apparent suicide of a disturbed Iraq War veteran turns out to be anything but.

Talk about good timing. Just as Boston attorney Brady Coyne (One-Way Ticket, 2007, etc.) is mourning the departure of his favorite hospital administrator, Evie Banyon, who’s forsaken his bed to care for her dying father in California, in walks his old flame Alexandria Shaw. Though he hasn’t seen Alex in seven years, their salt-and-pepper chemistry is still perfect—or would be if Alex didn’t want her ex-lover to represent her brother Gus, a freelance photographer who left his right hand and his peace of mind behind in Iraq. Gus’s wife Claudia has been driven to the end of her rope by Gus’s PTSD behavior and has filed for divorce. Prompted by his waving a Beretta pistol in front of his family and threatening to kill himself, Claudia has also taken out a restraining order against him—two details Gus neglects to mention to his new lawyer. So it’s clear that Gus isn’t the ideal client, and it’s not a surprise to anyone when Gus’s second suicide attempt is successful. The only person left unconvinced is Alex, who maintains that not even the crazy scarecrow who came home from Iraq would have killed himself. It must have been murder, and a very convenient murder at that.

Brady’s investigation, which indeed proves that Gus was as far from suicidal as you can get, is more heartfelt than inspired. Despite the weighty issues involved, it’s clear, as he admits, that “fishing is what’s in my blood. Not the law.”