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(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

It was a bad thing for Jack Walsh to have an automobile accident while he was intoxicated. It was even worse to kill someone in the process. When Walsh realizes however, that he is responsible for the death of the only son of Boston’s boss of bosses, he knows his life is forfeit. Sooner of later, D’Angelo will have his revenge.

Not surprisingly, once Walsh is released from prison he goes to ground away from Boston and his family. He returns to his hometown and turns his rent house into a veritable fortress. While Walsh organizes his defenses, U.S. Attorney Kate Haggerty prepares for battle on another front. She hopes to draw D’Angelo out from behind the phalanx of lawyers who safeguard his every move. Haggerty’s plan is simplicity itself. Walsh will seek an audience with D’Angelo. D’Angelo will try to kill Walsh. Kate and her colleagues will intervene. D’Angelo will go to prison. Walsh, if he survives, will be able to resume his life somewhere.

Walsh does not think much of Kate’s plan, but three bungled although nonetheless lethal attempts on his life cause him to reconsider. Kate Haggerty is pleased with Walsh’s decision, but she soon learns she is the one being manipulated and that Jack has his own agenda.

At first glance, this first novel appears little more than a George V. Higgins clone. If the reader is patient, however, and pays careful attention to the changes in subject and time, BAIT takes on a life all its own. This is not to say that Abel will ever match the master, but he should develop a following of his own.