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The Interrogation


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About the Author

Thomas H. Cook is the author of many novels, including The Chatham School Affair, winner of the Edgar Award for Best Novel; Instruments of Night; Breakheart Hill; Mortal Memory; Sacrificial Ground and Blood Innocents, both Edgar Award nominees; and two early works about true crimes, Early Graves and Blood Echoes, which was also nominated for an Edgar Award. He lives in New York City and Cape Cod.


Did Albert Jay Smalls strangle eight-year-old Cathy Lake to death on a rainy afternoon in 1952? Two police detectives have 11 hours to find out before Smalls is released. The Edgar-winning Cook makes the most of that brief period of time, not only braiding the intricate elements of the crime but laying open the secretive, troubled lives of at least half a dozen characters. The case against Smalls is thin no witnesses, no physical evidence. A homeless vagrant who lived in a tunnel not far from where Cathy's body was found, he's been in custody for more than a week. No one has been able to crack his denial of the murder, but detectives Jack Pierce and Norman Cohen sense he's hiding something. Employing flashbacks and parallel action while in the interrogation frame, Cook adroitly weaves back and forth between the crime itself, the subsequent investigation and the halting questioning of the suspect. More compelling, however, is his portrayal of how the crime affects Pierce and Cohen, as well as several secondary characters. Pierce, for example, is a man driven by rage: his own daughter was murdered six years earlier and her case went unsolved. Cohen, who conducts most of the questioning while Pierce plows into Smalls's past, is still numb from what he saw in Germany as a soldier. Down to the cleverly hatched, melancholy ending, Cook (The Chatham School Affair; Places in the Dark) again takes readers down a dark, treacherous road into the heart of human fallibility and struggle. (Apr. 2) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Adult/High School-A suspenseful psychological thriller with troubled characters. It is 1952. Albert Jay Smalls, arrested on suspicion of murdering eight-year-old Cathy Lake, is scheduled to be released at 6 a.m. unless compelling evidence against him can be uncovered. Police Chief Thomas Burke calls in two detectives to spend the night interrogating the young vagrant who was found living in a drainage pipe near the murder scene. Jack Pierce, one of the detectives, is staggering under his own emotional load. His daughter was murdered four years earlier, his marriage dissolved under the anger and grief, and, reminiscent of this case, the suspected murderer was released for lack of evidence. Pierce has promised Cathy's mother that this crime won't go unpunished. His partner, Norman Cohen, still reels from confronting the horrors involved in liberating a concentration camp during the war. For both men, Smalls represents one evil that they have a chance to stop and contain. During the course of this one night, readers meet peripheral characters, learn more about the defendant, and watch as the intensity builds with the passage of time. Each of these characters is struggling with unresolved issues and, interestingly, all revolve around one another in layers of surprising connections. More than just a page-turner, this novel is a psychological dissection of troubled souls trying to get through the night.-Carol DeAngelo, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

"Violence, tenderness, unspeakable evil, and the churning torment of a lost soul a little too close to them for comfort before the final sickening surprise."
-Kirkus Reviews "Probably no other suspense writer takes readers as deeply into the heart of darkness as Cook."
Chicago Tribune "There's no ignoring [Thomas Cook's] savage imagery, or escaping the airless chambers of his disturbing imagination."
-The New York Times Book Review "Hypnotic prose and fresh scenarios set [Cook's] suspenseful fiction apart....If you've not yet been haunted by a Thomas Cook novel, now is a fine time to start."
Star Tribune, Minneapolis "Cook uses the genre to open a window onto the human condition....Literate, compelling...Events accelerate with increasing force, but few readers will be prepared for the surprise that waits at novel's end."
-Publishers Weekly

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