Picks and Pans Review: Sacred

updated 08/25/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/25/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Dennis Lehane

PULP FICTION ICON JIM THOMPSON IS alive and well and living in Marble-head, Mass. Or at least the spirit of his hard-boiled classics (including The Grifters) survives in this dark maelstrom of a mystery, swirling with incestuous undercurrents, triple-crosses and one femme who appears suspiciously fatale.

When Boston PI partners Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro first catch the case, it sounds like one of the oldest stories in the detective fiction canon: Dying rich guy desperately seeks vanished daughter. But the pair quickly discover that even with the Grim Reaper looming, billionaire Trevor Stone is as flinty as his name—and that, despite her sirenlike appearance, the missing Desiree may be every inch his match. Admirers of Lehane's previous Darkness, Take My Hand may miss the terrible I beauty of that book, one of the most haunting thrillers of last—or any other—year. But his latest effort still crackles with enough suspense to make for many a midsummer night's screams. (Morrow, $23)

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