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Acid Row


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About the Author

The acclaimed author of nine international bestsellers, Walters has established herself as one of today's leading crime writers. Most of her previous novels have been made into television mini-series. She lives with her husband and two children in Dorset, England.


HEver since she won an Edgar back in 1993, Walters has continually worked outside the standard boundaries of crime drama. Psychological suspense may be the best tagline for her novels, but it still doesn't quite catch her tenor. Her heroes, for example, are anything but moody, disagreeable. Her dialogue wanders and stews and then jabs like a bayonet. Her plots often evolve out of sequence. She simply won't walk the line and she's confoundingly good at taking liberties. Here, Walters transports readers to Acid Row, a dungeon of a housing project in a London suburb populated by single mothers, fatherless children, criminals fresh from prison, gangs and the helpless elderly. It's a community, however, bonded in its destitution, suspicious and unwelcoming of outsiders. When word leaks out that the government has placed a pedophile in No. 23, the beleaguered residents begin to simmer. Then, when a 10-year-old girl goes missing, Acid Row explodes into open revolt. With frightening clarity, Walters breaks down the daylong riot into recurring vignettes. There's the anguish of Sophie Morrison, a young doctor taken hostage by the pedophile and his vicious father; swaggering ex-con Jimmy James, who rises to the occasion with bursts of reluctant heroism; the cowering police and their pathetic attempts at restoring order; and the evasive parents of Amy Biddulph, the little girl nobody can find. Walters (The Shape of Snakes; Edgar-winning The Sculptress) pulls it all off with rhythmic brilliance, the narrative flowing smoothly. Again, she demonstrates her eye for the sociological and psychological avalanche provoked by human temptation and people living in cramped quarters. With her eighth novel, Walters continues to navigate literary pathways few have ventured down before her. Foreign rights sold in Australia, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and the U.K. (July 1) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

In this eighth psychological suspense novel by English author Walters (The Shape of Snakes), a convicted pedophile and a missing ten-year-old girl are the sparks that ignite a murderous riot in a crime-infested housing project known as Acid Row. Privileged information leaked by an embittered healthcare worker leads to a protest intended to be peaceful. But the heat and resentment build, and Dr. Sophie Morrison, caregiver for the community, gets caught in the middle. When she stops to care for the asthmatic father of the pedophile, she is assaulted and held hostage in his home. With police blocked from the area and putting resources toward finding the missing girl a case that also may involve pedophilia the hero of the day is a huge black man just out of prison, aided by the elderly inhabitants of Acid Row. Walters is masterly at keeping suspense at a high pitch while weaving between two story lines, noting the consequences of good intentions and bad decisions, and seeing myriad shades of gray. A final epilog-like chapter provides an uplift unexpected in a novel by Walters, and fans may find the book rings more true without it. Happy ending notwithstanding, this is as intelligent and thought-provoking as it is suspenseful. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/1/02.] Michele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L., VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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