By People Staff
May 26, 1997 12:00 PM

by Zachary Alan Fox

Page-Turner of the Week

“HEY, KIDS!” THE MAN IN THE CLOWN suit shouts to 27 disabled children on a Southern California school bus. “Have I got a surprise for you!” With that, Lowell Alexander DeVries pulls the trigger, and—bam!—this supercharged first novel is off like a shot. DeVries demands $20 million in exchange for the children. Matching wits with the kidnapper is Ellen Camacho, a cop who—like every other heroine these days—is a single mom. DeVries is one of the more memorable psychopaths to appear in recent fiction. Inspite of the deranged pedophile’s heartless treatment of the children, the crime has been planned so meticulously that the reader is almost rooting for the bad guy to get away with it. The author, like DeVries, has done his homework, turning All Fall Down into a virtual primer on kidnapping. Although the action is slowed by a clumsy romantic subplot and needless infighting among law enforcement agencies, I the final 50 pages fly by as Fox builds to a satisfying showdown in the Mojave foothills. (Kensington, $22)