Tom Coffey's The Serpent Club was hailed as "hypnotic" (Publishers Weekly). Now, he returns with this sultry tale of sudden violence, overpowering lust, and brutal retribution -- all under the shadows of a Miami Twilight.
Slick public-relations executive Garrett Doherty is jeopardizing his marriage, his career, and his life -- all for an enigmatic beauty known as Magdalena. The affair has also connected Doherty to Cuban expatriate and land developer Ernesto Rodriguez, a man whose associations with U.S. intelligence agencies and the underworld have placed him in the center of the anti-Castro movement and a far-reaching cocaine empire.
Rodriguez wants Doherty to help him promote Tierra Grande, a gated playground for millionaires and his final shot at legitimacy. But as Doherty's obsession with Magdalena consumes him, he is pulled into a maelstrom of violent dealings and betrayals that just may be the handiwork of his alluring temptress. Will Doherty follow his fixation to a new life...or a cold grave?
Coffey's followup to his bestselling debut, The Serpent Club, is a routine and often repetitive suspense novel. Garrett Doherty, a public relations man, and his wife, Helen, have lived in Miami for almost two years when Garrett meets Ernesto Rodriguez, a Cuban exile and land developer. Ernesto has plans to build a major housing development called Tierra Grande and wants Garrett to handle the public relations side of the deal. While working on Tierra Grande, Garrett is approached by Frank Hedges, a man who worked with Ernesto many years ago and wishes to resume their partnership. Frank's wife, Magdalena, is so gorgeous that Garrett immediately falls in lust with her, jeopardizing his career and his marriage. To make matters worse, questions arise concerning the financing of the housing project, suggesting that Ernesto is funding the deal with drug money. But just as Garrett decides to confront Ernesto, his boss disappears. With the company breathing down his neck for the money Ernesto owes, and just after his wife announces she is pregnant, Garrett finds solace in the arms of Magdalena. It is hard to dredge up much sympathy for Coffey's faithless, self-absorbed protagonist he's the type to confess he married his wife for convenience, then expect sympathy. Just as off-putting is the novel's stiff prose and its relentless focus on Garrett and Magdalena's lackluster, distasteful affair. Drama gives way to self-dramatization in this stale, sluggish thriller.