Picks and Pans Review: Primal Fear

UPDATED 02/15/1993 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 02/15/1993 at 01:00 AM EST

by William Diehl

After five gritty novels centering on petty thieves, local hit men and other desperate and cynical characters, Diehl, best-selling author of Sharkey's Machine, moves into the courtroom.

Maverick attorney Martin Vail, a thorn in the side of Chicago's political machine, is railroaded into defending a runaway Appalachian teenager in a sensational murder trial. The victim is a Catholic bishop, "the Saint of Lake-view Drive," whose life work was to rescue adolescents from the mean streets. Aaron Stampler, one of the saved, is found at the scene clutching a bloody butcher knife.

An open-and-shut case, or so it seems, until Vail and his team uncover some shocking surprises. As much psychological thriller as legal drama, with a dose of social conscience, Fear showcases Diehl's talent for taut dialogue and unnerving suspense. Though the players too easily line up as good or evil, and the ending begs for a sequel (already in the works), Diehl delivers. (Villard, $20)

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine


From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners

Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters