A gritty noir tale about a private
investigator and a brutal killer playing a cat-and-mouse game that culminates in an Old West showdown, Klavan's thriller is suspenseful and cinematically told. The protagonists are complex -- Weiss, the beaten-down but noble P.I., and Bishop, the antihero with heart --
and both possess a streak of goodness that shines throughout the bleak events that unfold.

San Francisco P.I. Scott Weiss and sadistic killer John Foy are locked in a duel to the death. The object of their affection is prostitute Julie Wyant, a changeling woman who becomes whatever men want her to be -- and thus is impossible for them to forget. Weiss hits the road searching for the missing Julie, knowing that every step he takes also brings Foy, the ever-watchful assassin, closer too. But Weiss is determined that it's going to end, one way or another.

His only allies are Bishop, a hardened, selfish thug who nevertheless feels a loyalty to Weiss, and the eager young apprentice at the agency, who foolhardily yet nobly throws himself into the fray, determined to become a man to admire. (HARCOURT, Sep., 320 pp., $24.00)
Reviewed by: 
Tara Gelsomino