Lawyer Martin Vail has never lost a case - now he must catch a psychotic killer, or he'll lose his life.
William Diehl is the author of the international bestsellers Sharky's Machine, Thai Horse, 27, Primal Fear and Reign in Hell. Several of his novels have been filmed. He lives in Woodstock, Georgia, with his wife, Emmy Award winner, Virginia Gunn.
This energetic sequel to Diehl's Primal Fear casts the principals of the original in clever role reversals and features enough plot twists, violence and romance to jumpstart a zombie's pulse. Ten years after he won a split-personality defense for angelic-looking serial killer Aaron Stampler, flashy defense attorney Martin Vail, once the bane of Chicago's City Hall, is an A.D.A., while his former antagonist, D.A. Jane Venable, has joined corporate ranks as a leverager of buyouts. Stampler himself is poised for release from Daisyland, Illinois' maximum-security mental institution. At a political fete, Vail and Venable meet for the first time since the trial, and romantic sparks fly. After a twist of fate catapults Vail into the D.A.'s chair, however, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the bar as Venable is maneuvered into defending a long-abused secretary accused of killing her boss. Meanwhile, two survivors of Stampler's murder spree turn up mutilated and ritually marked in the same way as his earlier victims. A visit to Daisyland confirms that the serial killer is still locked up, apparently with no outside contact. Even so, Vail has Stampler watched closely: but the judge who presided at his trial is slaughtered, and Venable barely survives an attack. Few readers will fail to catch on before Vail's team does, but no matter: Diehl's fast pacing and smooth mix of humor, tension and malevolence add up to bracing entertainment. 100,000 first printing; major ad/promo. (June)
Diehl, the author of previous hits Chameleon (1982) and Sharky's Machine (1978), has the makings of another best seller here. Defense attorney-turned-district attorney Martin Vail comes to regret having saved a murderer, Aaron Stampler, from the death penalty; Stampler wasn't suffering from multiple personality disorder but was merely a vicious killer who has many more scores to settle. When Stampler proves smart enough to convince an egotistical psychiatrist that he is now sane and can return to society, Vail has to out-think him to save not only his own life but the lives of everyone who contributed to the killer's ten years in a mental institution. The action is gripping, and the characters are well drawn. Buy for suspense collections and for Diehl's established fans. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/95.]-Marylaine Block, St. Ambrose Univ. Lib., Davenport, Ia.
"Spine-tingling" New York Times "Move over John le Carre. William Diehl has written a rip-roaring roller-coaster of suspense, riveting from beginning to end" Sidney Sheldon "Enough plot twists, violence, and romance to jumpstart a zombie's pulse... Diehl's fast pacing and smooth mix of humour, tension and malevolence add up to bracing entertainment" Publishers Weekly