One-armed private eye Dan Fortune, seen before in Minnesota Strip , is hired to trace Jack Price, whose wife is suspicious of his mysterious all-night absences from their home in Santa Barbara, Calif. Fortune discovers that Price is ``chasing eights'' as one of the members of a continuing poker game with business partner Ed Brower and others who play for high stakes. But Fortune stumbles on a body, the first among various members of the group who become victims killed on orders from one of the players, a financier. Price, starting to suspect that a ``big deal'' promised him by the financier is collapsing, and that he's set to lose everything as part of a scam that depends on murder to succeed. Other than Price, the other potential victims are a Mexican-American and his wife; a militant liberal and the homeless people he shelters; and, ultimately, every one of Collins's fully realized characters, lured into a trap baited by hope. Humming with tensions, this page-turner is first-rate, yet veers alarmingly close to modern reality. (Feb.)
An undeniable sense of urgency characterizes this fine effort from the author of Castrato and Red Rosa. Angela Price hires series hero Dan Fortune--one-armed, brave, and now in Santa Barbara--to investigate her husband's latest shady financial deal with shadier boss Ed Brower. Fortune, however, finds a third partner dead and cannot locate Mr. Price. Much of the subsequent plot follows Fortune, Price, the police, and the bad guys as they chase each other around to the accompaniment of shooting, torture, and murder. Well-directed action, excitement, and entertainment.