June 01, 1998 12:00 PM

by Richard Bausch

Page-turner of the week

Just how well do any of us really know our nearest and dearest? Not a truly original question, perhaps, but one which gets a novel spin in this provocative and heart-piercing thriller.

In the few short month since failing Virginia contractor Jack Michaelson’s death in a car crash, his widow and 11-year-old son have been struggling to cope. Just when things slowly seem to be improving, they and a kindly black neighbor start getting hate mail. And then disaster strikes—as Jack’s secrets put all their lives in jeopardy.

With his powerful style and penetrating sense of character, Bausch keeps us hooked even through stretches of almost excruciating tension and sporadic violence that some readers may find excessive. This disturbing book is likely to have you losing sleep for more reasons than one. (Harper-Flamingo, $24)

Bottom Line: Darkly brilliant thriller

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