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Reed's Promise
     

Reed's Promise

5.0 2
by John Clarkson
 

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Bill Reed has not seen or spoken to his cousin John, an adult suffering from Down Syndrome, for four years, until he receives a cryptic and disturbing letter from the mentally disabled man. The letter, composed entirely of pasted-together numbers and crudely scribbled lines, makes no sense, but gives Reed a definite sense that something is very wrong at the private

Overview

Bill Reed has not seen or spoken to his cousin John, an adult suffering from Down Syndrome, for four years, until he receives a cryptic and disturbing letter from the mentally disabled man. The letter, composed entirely of pasted-together numbers and crudely scribbled lines, makes no sense, but gives Reed a definite sense that something is very wrong at the private, isolated facility where John resides.

A former FBI agent who has recently lost his leg in a motorcycle accident, Reed has problems of his own. The last thing he needs right now is another person to look out for. Yet the more Reed tries to check on his cousin, the more resistance he encounters from the people who are supposed to be caring for John and the other residents of the Ullman Institute.

Reed smells trouble, and he's not about to give up. Despite his own disability, he vows to find out what the Institute is hiding—and to rescue his cousin before it's too late!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Writing a thriller on a small scale is harder than crafting a country-spanning tale of international intrigue, primarily because there's an inverse ratio between location and verisimilitude: the more international the setting, the lower the bar for realism. If the story unfolds in the reader's backyard, then it has to be anchored in reality and there's reality in spades in this engrossing novel by Clarkson (New Lots). Bill Reed, a recently crippled ex-FBI agent with latent family guilt, intends to redeem himself through a renewed relationship with his retarded cousin, Johnny Boy Reed, who has been at the Ullmann Institute since he was a kid. Bill receives a distressed message from Johnny Boy, and after he is rebuffed by the sadistic director, Matthew Ullman, he drives to the institute in an upstate New York town where the sheriff is a paid lackey of the institute and thugs do his bidding. There's a money angle here somewhere, and Bill is just the right guy to find out what it is. He's a forensic accountant, someone who tracks illegal money back to its source, which is exactly what Ullmann and his wife, Madeleine, don't need, because there's money galore coming through the institute. As Bill engages in showdown after showdown with the institute staff, it becomes clear that the premise of this novel is in part an excuse for Clarkson to examine characters under stress and craft grueling scenes of physical effort. This engaging thriller is equipped with psychological depth and a solidly believable center. (Dec.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Heavy-hitter Clarkson whacks a two-bagger rather than cleaning the plates as usual. The first half perennially promises thrills ahead, and though action does erupt somewhere past the midway point, it's a salvage job on forced plotting. Forensic account investigator Bill Reed, an FBI agent trained in proving fraud, retires and opens his own far more lively fraud-investigation agency. Reed loses a leg in a Manhattan motorcycle accident on page one, then spends six months depressed, drinking, and letting his staff run his agency while he adjusts to various prosthetics. Then he gets a mysterious letter filled with numbers. It's supposedly from his cousin, John Boyd Reed, a Down's syndrome patient at the upstate Ullmann Institute. Alerted that something fishy is going on, Bill drives up to the Institute, forces his way in to his cousin's bedside. Clarkson (New Lots, 1998, etc.) lines up his heavies, hospital helpers who brutalize John, and slathers on hints that fists and bullets will fly. While unctuous villain Mathew Ullmann alludes and alludes to criminal activity at his institute while talking with his wife, passing these allusions on to the hero puts Clarkson at an impasse. Reed can only intuit fraud and become engaged as an investigator after being roughed up by four hospital thugs, though he defends himself well with his crutch. One wonders what Reed is up to when he orders his best staff member to send him his guns and laptop. Now heavily armed and with a big sidekick as backup, Reed wades into . . . his laptop, setting in motion a complete investigation of Ullmann's finances. To be sure, plenty of aggression takes place in later chapters, but Clarkson only goes through the motions.The story's true interest lies in fraud investigation, not bullets. Well researched, but this time Clarkson might better have taken a page from James M. Cain's insurance classic, Double Indemnity. Waspish words grip where bullets only thud.
From the Publisher
"Clarkson's mesmerizing tale is a real winner—a riveting, well-paced, top-notch performance full of fast-moving action and adventure."—Lansing State Journal

"Engrossing . . . this engaging thriller is equipped with psychological depth and a solidly believable center."—Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312878863
Publisher:
Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
Publication date:
12/19/2001
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
6.28(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.26(d)

Meet the Author

John Clarkson is the author of four previous novels and several screenplays and television shows. An advertising consultant, he makes his home with his family in lower Manhattan

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Reed's Promise 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was slow to start with, but ended with a bang. Totally surprised me, but worth the read..
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just found a new author and cant wait to read his other books. This book read well, the quality of the writing is excellent, and the storyline is suspensful. When you get to the end of a chapter you cannot put the book down because you want to read more. This book starts out right away, and never lets up as being exciting..It is a suspense story, that takes you into the plot, as if you were there. Excellent