Cover image for Smuggler's notch
Smuggler's notch
Koenig, Joseph.
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Publication Information:
New York : Viking, 1989.
Format :

On Order

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

A young woman is savagely murdered in Vermont's Green Mountains. A headstrong county police lieutenant, being groomed for promotion to chief, botches the killer's arrest, resulting in his partner's death, and resigns in disgrace. Months later, after being captured, the killer escapes, and the former cop gets his chance for redemption. Books like this succeed on evocations of character and locale, on dramatically rendered contests between good and evil, and on the presence of full-bodied sympathetic central characters. The Vermont setting works well; it's new terrain for most mystery readers. The killer is a chillingly evil, Bible-quoting psychopath, possibly one of the year's most compelling. But the disgraced cop is a clod; it's difficult to care a great deal about his disgrace or his redemption. Still, two out of three constitutes a recommendation. TG.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Tough cop nabs killer in order to avenge his partner's death, compensate for his own fatal blunder and redeem his honor. It's an all-too-familiar theme, but Koenig, known for well-crafted crime fiction ( Floater ; Little Odessa ), puts a spin on it. The setting is rural Vermont, and the hero, sheriff's lieutenant Larry St. Germain, is a big, brawling, lumberjack type. The novel opens with a brutal rape-murder; the victim is the teenage daughter of the state's attorney. St. Germain, who shares a log cabin with his ex-wife Annie whom he wants to remarry, bungles the arrest of sneering psychopath Paul Conklin. Resigning in disgrace, the lieutenant becomes an ambulance driver and settles down to life with Annie. Later the killer is put away but makes a prison break with a gang of thugs who go on a bloody rampage as they veer to the Canadian border. St. Germain hops into his ambulance and brings the action to a dramatic if predictable climax. Local color, authentic characters and gritty dialogue carry this snow-clad thriller. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved