June 30, 1997 12:00 PM

by Matthew Hall

Beach Book of the Week

HE MAY BE CRAZY, BUT BILL KAISER IS a tough villain to hate. An electronics expert with the conscience of Robin Hood and the warped smarts of Hannibal Lecter, Kaiser is on a crusade to right what he sees as the wrongs in New York City’s social fabric. His targets include a greedy real estate developer, a U.S. senator who supports the demolition of a landmark building, and less powerful blights like the neighborhood drug dealer. And when Kaiser cons his way into the psychiatric ward at Bellevue Hospital and befriends emotionally scarred nurse Sharon Blautner, whose husband and young son were killed in a car accident 18 months earlier, he takes on her battles as well—much to her terrified dismay.

From the novel’s jolting opening scene on top of a Manhattan skyscraper through its explosive climax, Hall puts Kaiser and Blautner through a palm-sweating pas de deux that is both scary and seductive—and absolutely irresistible. (Little, Brown, $23.95)

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