Everyone in Reaves's gritty, fast-paced sequel to A Long Cold Fall is afraid of either something or someone--scared enough to do things he would ordinarily shun. Chicago cabbie and Vietnam vet Cooper MacLeish is content with his life and his girlfriend, Puerto Rican Diana Froelich, until Tommy Thorne, an old friend from Diana's days as a hostess on a Carribbean cruise ship, shows up. Threatening to reveal secrets of her past, Tommy blackmails Diana into cooperating in a scheme to fleece porn publisher Moss Wetzel. Wetzel retaliates by turning his goons loose to find Diana (and Tommy). After Tommy is killed and Diana's apartment ransacked, Cooper, afraid he will lose her and with her his sanity, agrees to help find the information Tommmy had on Wetzel and put an end to the scam. With murder, rape, drugs and pornography, an alcoholic WW II veteran with a heart of gold and a revengeful Trinidadian burglar, Reaves develops a story that is far more satisfying than its seamy, ordinary ingredients would indicate. (Mar.)
More a suspense thriller than mystery, this Chicago-based construct easily slides the reader onto high-riding tension wires. A one-time lover of Cooper MacLeish's ( A Long Cold Fall , Putnam, 1991) girlfriend appears in town and coerces her into blackmailing the wealthy owner of a Hustler -type magazine. The plan backfires, however, as hired thugs kill the ex-lover, trash the girlfriend's apartment, and start murdering peripherally involved people in their search for incriminating material. Intricate plotting, careful characterization, and well-drawn surroundings add to the excitement. Excellently done.