Circumstances Unknown: A Novel of Suspense

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9780671780562: Circumstances Unknown: A Novel of Suspense

After her husband, Tim, is found dead--the victim, according to police, of an accidental drowning--Deena Reuschel begins to suspect that she and her five-year-old son have become the target of an obsessed madman. 30,000 first printing. $20,000 ad/promo.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

A suspense thriller, something of a departure for Heckler, who hitherto has dealt with overheated family embroilments--mothering and love trials of a Vietnam war-wife in Safekeeping (1983); alcoholism in A Fragile Peace (1986); and spatting siblings in White Lies (1989). Here, a distraught, increasingly desperate mother of a small son discovers and tracks her husband's killer- -who, by the close, is on the prowl for both his followers. Deena, husband Tim, and son Jon have a restaurant get-together in Manhattan, with court artist Martin and jewelry designer Paul- -old friends of Tim's whose families had summered at the same lake upstate. It was at the lake that two beloved women drowned--Paul's adored mother Sarah, and Jenny, the girl Martin was to marry. Deena, Tim, and Jon also vacation at the lake, and it is during a river raft trip that Tim is murdered, bludgeoned and drowned. The reader will learn the serial killer's identity soon enough, but Deena's chilling knowledge does not arrive until after the funeral. But in spite of the ``accidental'' verdict of the medical examiner, Deena's suspicions begin with a photo taken with Tim's camera, and then she finds a witness--mute, crippled, ancient. Once the murderer's identity is known to Deena, and his psychotic mind begins alternately to freeze and flame, Jon's life and Deena's are in immediate danger. Frantic tracks of pursuit and escape meet in a cave where death is inevitable. The characters, including the homicidal lunatic, are not completely believable, but the sleuthing and suspense are sharp and fast. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Although Heckler ( Safekeeping ) identifies the murderer and his intended victim on the first pages of her new mystery, she sustains chilling suspense as the killer's psychotic personality steadily deteriorates. Transplanted New Yorker Tim Reuschel brings his wife Deena and their young son from California to show them the scenes of his childhood. In the city they meet two of his former buddies: Paul Kincaid, a jewelry designer, and Martin Trayne, a courtroom artist who has never recovered from the drowning seven years earlier of his fiancee, Jenny Cunningham, whom all three loved in their youth. Paul trails the Reuschels upstate to Tim's family's summer home, meanwhile planning Deena's death (much the way he has previously stalked and killed many other young women). Overcome by desire for Deena, Paul changes his carefully laid plans and takes another victim, but Deena's suspicions about the death, ruled an accident, doom her anew. Meanwhile Martin, fighting to overcome his despair, finds the clue that ties Paul to the other killings and must convince authorities of Paul's true nature before he claims Deena's life.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Heckler, Jonellen
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