Thursday, April 24, 2008

Madman on a Drum-David Housewright

Madman on a Drum
David Housewright
St. Martin's, May 2008, $24.95
ISBN: 9780312370817

In St. Paul, Minnesota sixth grader Victoria and fourth grader Katie Dunston were walking home from St. Mark’s Elementary School when a man in white coveralls and a black ski mask abducts the older sister. Their father Bobby, the city’s homicide chief, asks his long time friend former cop Rushmore McKenzie to help rescue his daughter although the detective knows his buddy lacks a sleuthing license.

The kidnapper demands Mac deliver the ransom, which he is willing to do. Mac begins racing through St. Paul following tips while someone places a $50,000 bounty on him. Soon Mac and Bobby begin to realize who the abductor is and why this snatch is personal. The knowledge brings fear to both men not for themselves, but for what their former childhood buddy might be capable of doing to this preadolescent girl out of an obsession to avenge what he believes was a betrayal of their friendship.

This is an exciting Twin City Noir that never slows down from the opening abduction to the final confrontation. Part of the fascination with this strong series (see DEAD BOYFRIENDS).is Mac makes mistakes that can prove costly as he does in MADMAN ON A DRUM. Although action-packed, the tale also focuses on loyalty between friends as Bobby was doing his job when the betrayal occurred (though not quite as potentially dangerous and it was a law enforcement matter, but think in terms of the heroic parents who turned in their son recently because they feared a Columbine). This is a strong entry in a powerful series.

Harriet Klausner

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