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Dark Harbor    by David Hosp order for
Dark Harbor
by David Hosp
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2005 (2005)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Though this legal thriller opens on an act of terrorism, that disaster is peripheral to the plot, acting as the impetus for a lawsuit in which the protagonist is involved. Attorney Scott Finn works for a prestigious law firm, where he has been mentored by father figure Preston Holland and hopes to make partner soon. Orphaned Finn had a rough childhood on the streets, involving many brushes with the law. He's come a long way since then, and the support of a good friend, attorney Natalie Caldwell (who was briefly also his lover), has meant a lot to him.

As the story opens, Natalie turns up floating in Boston Harbor, and it's assumed that the perpetrator is the same serial killer - dubbed 'Little Jack' by the media - responsible for the horrific deaths of six prostitutes. The author lets readers into the murderer's mind and home early in the book, and this stereotypical, bible thumping psycho has the grisly habit of saving his victim's hearts as souvenirs. Linda Flaherty, the police lieutenant in charge of the case, finds Scott attractive, but can't quite trust him. And her 'Neanderthal' partner, Tom Kozlowski, is immediately convinced that Finn's guilty of something.

In addition to the serial killer, Hosp's plot reaches out to entangle the Mob (including Finn's childhood friend Tigh McCluen) and several figures prominent in Boston politics and law enforcement. When Finn is assigned a major case perviously handled by Nat, he turns up oddities. A casual investigation grows serious after he's beaten and warned off. There are more murders, and Finn's interest in Linda is dampened when she arrests him. The loose ends are all tied together in a violent crescendo of action, with the requisite surprises for all involved. David Hosp brings us an exciting debut thriller in Dark Harbor, with engaging leads and a solid plot. I look forward to his next novel.

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