An English detective has lost his mind and is plunging into madness as this engrossing and fast-reading thriller unfolds. Knowing that Johnny Mays's ``methods'' violate English law as well police policies, partner and boyhood friend Nick Frazier tries to bring him in line. But Mays is adamant that he is England's ``avenging angel,'' and he keeps filling his ``book'' with names of society's ``enemies.'' His paranoid delusions spur him to a vicious car chase that Frazier tries to stop, but his efforts just get him listed in the ``book'' Mays apparently dies in a crash. Having been saved by an unsuspecting samaritan, however, Mays embarks on a mission of vengeance that leaves no doubt that he is alive. Frazier searches for him ``down river,'' back where they grew up, and amid vividly hewn scenes of a coastal village, tries to rein in his far-gone pal and save a woman who had once played a part in each of their lives. The denouement, thanks to Gallagher's ( Oktober ) strong writing and excellent characterizations, is unforgettable.
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