CHUCK HAUSMAN SHOULD NEVER HAVE come back to the island. Not after his neighbors, always as chilly as the waves on surrounding Lake Superior, began blaming him for his wife's death. Certainly not after his preacher father apparently fleeced his flock. But lured by the prospect of an inheritance and urged on by his new wife, Chuck lets his sensibility conquer his sense—and lights the fuse on this crackling thriller.
Compressing his tale of crime and punishment into 17 taut hours, first-time novelist Kearney has staged some hold-your-breath suspense. Occasionally he seems less than sure-handed with his characters. But with the action whipping at gale force and those creaks outside your bedroom door sounding an awful lot like footsteps, you're not likely to complain. (Doubleday, $22.95)