Former baseball great Clu Haid is thrilled when the Yankees decide to give him one more chance. Unfortunately, before the season begins, Clu fails a drug test. Hes murdered before he can prove his innocence and Esperanza Diaz, the partner of sports agent Myron Bolitar, is arrested.

Esperanza and her lawyer dont want Bolitar involved as hes also a likely suspect, but Bolitar is not one to let a friend down. When another killing occurs, he and his buddy Win, a wealthy, handsome sociopath, launch their own investigation.

They dont make much headway until Bolitar receives a computer diskette in the mail. The diskette is a self-destructing program that shows a picture of Lucy Mayor, the daughter of the new owner of the Yankees. Lucy disappeared years ago as a teenager. Bolitar and Win realize there must be a connection with the killings but what they dont realize is that the connection marks Bolitar as the next victim.

THE FINAL DETAIL is a suspenseful, puzzling mystery that will make you laugh even as it pulls at your heartstrings. Coben is a true student of human nature and he incorporates that into his stories, creating believable characters involved in plausible, engrossing situations. The blend of pathos and dry wit is nicely done, making this a memorable reading experience. (Mar., 384 pp., $6.50—Hardcover published June 1999)

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg