Even the cozy New England town of Newbury, Connecticut, is not immune to the relentless spread of McMansions carpeting the countryside. Ben Abbott, realtor and private detective, is so incensed that he refuses to sell them. That Ben is not the only citizen of Newbury who is provoked by over-sized, ugly, wasteful houses becomes apparent when the corpse of Billy Tiller, Newbury's greediest developer, is discovered underneath his bulldozer.
The young and troubled eco-activist Jeff Kimball, who is arrested while sitting at the controls of the bulldozer, protests his innocence. Connecticut's state's attorney sees the opportunity to prosecute an open-and-shut TV murder trial that will vault him into the U.S. Senate. While Ira Levy, the small-town criminal defense lawyer hired by Jeff's hip-hop mogul father, longs to impress movers and shakers in New York City.
Ben Abbott, deep in debt to Attorney Levy for an expensive horse he gave to 12-year-old Alison, is forced to pay off the debt by trying to prove Jeff Kimball innocent of a crime that State Police Major Crime Squad Lieutenant Marian Boyce styles "perpetrator on bulldozer on victim."
It looks that way, says Ben Abbott. But in what order did they really stack up?
Scott's satisfying fourth installment of his Ben Abbott series (after 2003's Frostline) hinges on the murder of Billy Tiller, a greedy developer determined to ruin the smalltown charm of Newbury, Conn., with a string of tacky starter palaces. When he's found dead--run over by a bulldozer--the police arrest a young environmental activist, Jeff Kimball. Ira Levy, Kimball's lawyer, asks Abbott, realtor-cum-PI, to dig around. Abbott doesn't want to take the case--he despised everything Tiller stood for and worries that his loathing might hamper his investigation--but Levy twists his arm. Abbott determines pretty speedily that Kimball couldn't have committed the crime, but figuring out who did is a tad trickier. Though the reader never gets to know Abbott very well, this novel will resonate with those in the countless communities that are beset by real estate monstrosities. (Jan.)
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Poisoned Pen Press
December 14, 2007
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