All Sam wants to do is hammer a few nails into his ramshackle cottage, drink a great deal of vodka, hang out with his dog, Eddie, and stay out of trouble. But trouble seems to find him anyway. When a car bomb outside a trendy waterfront restaurant kills a prominent financial consultant and injures Sam and his lawyer friend Jackie Swaitkowski, he is drawn into the investigation. Where the police have met roadblocks, Sam makes inroads with his trademark wit, instinct and charm. Also, he just wants to know: Why would someone go to such lengths not only to kill someone, but annihilate them?
At the start of Knopf's super second mystery starring ex-boxer and retired engineer Sam Acquillo (after 2005's The Last Refuge), Sam is enjoying a drink with a lady friend at an East Hampton restaurant when a nearby car and its driver are firebombed out of existence. In the aftermath, Sam, assisted by his old buddy, retired cop Joe Sullivan, looks into who might have had it in for the victim, wealthy consultant Jonathan Eldridge. After talking to Eldridge's agoraphobic widow and suspicious-acting lawyer, Sam continues to investigate and the more he pokes around the more data he turns up suggesting a complex deception involving financial transfers, angry clients who may or may not be Mafia-connected, the murdered man's estranged artist brother and out-of-it mother. A sly depiction of the east end of Long Island and the Hamptons as they really are, combined with strong plotting, solid characters and hard-boiled dialogue worthy of Elmore Leonard or John D. MacDonald will make this a beach read that you won't be able to put down even under threat of sunburn.