October 28, 1996 12:00 PM

by John R. Maxim

Page-Turner of the Week

MYSTERY WRITER MAXIM, AUTHOR OF the Bannerman series, pulls some smooth moves on the well-worn man-loses-everything-and-doesn’t-know-why plot, and in the bargain gives readers a hard look at a little-known but lucrative area of international crime. Young investment banker Michael Fallon is beset by a series of deadly misfortunes. His Uncle Jake, a renowned New York City power broker, is brutally murdered with a baseball bat. Fallon’s fiancée is gunned down in a robbery, and soon afterward two muggers almost take Fallon off the board. As he retreats to Martha’s Vineyard to hide out and try to start a new life, Fallon slowly uncovers the perplexing reason for his fate: the huge traffic in counterfeit prescription drugs. In its tangled past, Fallon’s family became involved with shady pharmaceutical distributors who sold millions of units of fake Prozac, Tagamet, digitalis and other commonly prescribed medicines to unwary hospitals, drugstores and physicians. Readers may need to take blood-pressure pills themselves as Fallon races to save himself and bring the drug peddlers to heel. (Avon, $23)

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