The likable protagonist of this creditable first novel is Quint McCauley, a middle-aged ex-cop recently jilted by his 23-year-old lover. McCauley is head of security for Hauser's, a large Chicago department store. Preston Hauser, president of the store, has been receiving threatening letters, and asks McCauley to quietly investigate. At a meeting with McCauley in his office, Preston takes his daily vitamins--and dies: the capsules were laced with cyanide. McCauley tells Preston's wife, Diana, a fetching kleptomaniac, that she is a widow; she finds the news hilarious and tries to seduce him. McCauley resists; he has recently become roommates with Elaine Kluszewski. He and Elaine investigate the various Hauser's executives that Preston had suspected of writing the letters. Brod's settings and dialogue are realistic and believable, more than making up for a repetitive running gag on the difficulty of parking in Chicago. Despite the obvious flag or two pointing the way to the guilty doorstep, this hard-boiled first-in-a-series is solid, satisfying fare. (Aug.)
A comfortable, conversational tone, everyday narrator/detective, and dollops of Chicago action accompany Brod's solid first novel. Shortly after ex-cop Quint McCauley, head of security for Hauser's department store, agrees to investigate death threats received by Hauser, Hauser dies of cyanide poisoning. McCauley continues his search among a standard array of suspects (e.g., a juicy, much younger wife) despite further murders, attempts on his own life, and loss of job. Not much out of the ordinary, but promising nonetheless.