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Guilt (Peter Zak Mysteries) Hardcover – February 24, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
For a refreshing change, Ephron's fifth Dr. Peter Zak mystery (after 2003's Obsessed) focuses on a person—the Boston-area forensic psychiatrist's love interest, detective Annie Squires—rather than a disease. A bomber is terrorizing Cambridge, striking at Harvard Law School and the city courthouse, and Annie believes these fatal explosions could be the work of Joe Klevinski, the abusive husband of Jackie, a recovering drug addict who's begun working in Annie's office. The case gets close to home when Jackie and her young daughter, Sophie, move into Zak's mother's apartment—and Klevinski shows up, manipulative and uninvited, at the little girl's birthday party. As the investigation narrows, the police begin to suspect an anarchist at work, a mysterious man on a motor scooter, as the bomber graduates to bigger symbols of authority as his targets. Is the governor of Massachusetts next? Ephron does a fine job of delivering adrenaline-pumping prose, and the cast of characters is consistently interesting. The warm bonds of business and affection that unite the regulars in this series never become cloying, and this book, like its predecessors, evokes a palpable sense of place.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
One half of the pseudonymous G. H. Ephron is a forensic psychologist and the other is a journalist; no surprise, then, that their series features a forensic investigator, Dr. Peter Zak. The latest adventure focuses on Peter's girlfriend, Annie Squires, a former public defender who now runs her own investigation firm. When a bomb is detonated near her office in Harvard Square, Annie is shocked to discover that a woman she knew was killed. It soon turns out that a serial bomber is striking targets all over Boston. Though he dislikes being labeled a "profiler," Peter reluctantly agrees to help police paint a picture of the bomber. Meanwhile, Annie deals with Jackie Kelvinski, who caught a glimpse of the bomber. An abused wife who is reluctant to leave her violent husband, Jackie comes to work for Annie with mixed results. Ephron does a nice job of evoking life in Boston while keeping the suspense level high. Best of all, the switch in focus from the sometimes-whiny Peter to the delightful Annie gives the series new energy. Jenny McLarin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Despite the expectations created by its title, Guilt does not directly deal with either culpability or self-reproach. A more appropriate title might have been Doubt, which better describes the state of mind of Ephron's protagonists--Zak feels unsure of himself when asked to assume the unfamiliar role of profiler, and Annie is conflicted about her efforts to assist the unappreciative Jackie Klevinski. This understandable doubt allows readers to better identify with the characters, at the same time increasing the level of suspense.
Regardless of the suitability of its title, the book makes for involving reading; the writing is lively, the pace deliberate, and its characterizations ring true. With Guilt, Ephron (a pseudonym for the writing team of Hallie Ephron and Dr. Don Davidof) adds another enticing entry to the ongoing Peter Zak series. Although familiarity with previous installments is not necessary to appreciate Guilt, readers will likely feel compelled to seek them out upon finishing.
A second bomb explodes at a Cambridge courthouse killing more people. Neuropsychiatrist Peter Zak would have been part of the body count except that he was late for an appointment at the courthouse. He wonders if he was the target.
Deliberate evidence left behind by the bomber connects the two deadly incidents insisting more will follow. Detective Sergeant Joseph MacRae leads the investigation in which he obtains Peter's reluctant and somewhat frightened help with profiling the culprit, but denies any assistance to Anne who worries her client will return to her husband so that no one else dies.
Zak's latest mystery is an interesting police procedural because those "fortunate" to survive believe they were the target even though no evidence exists to sustain their claim. The story line contains a terrific investigative tale starting several strong characters especially Peter, who is frightened and wants to hide, but does the right thing anyway. Team Ephron provides a wonderful tale in which even those still living are victims consumed with GUILT that not only did they survive, but they were probable cause.