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Killer, Come Hither


Killer, Come Hither

“Write what you know,” observed Mark Twain. Louis Begley’s initial foray into the world of mystery/thriller novels follows that rule, providing readers with an interesting change of pace from the more traditional style of hard-boiled detectives who solve their crimes while busting heads and consuming quantities of coffee, cigarettes, bourbon and beer.

Begley was an attorney with the prominent Wall Street law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton. In 1991, at age 57, he wrote his first novel, the award-winning WARTIME LIES. Since then, he has written five additional books, including ABOUT SCHMIDT, later produced as a movie starring Jack Nicholson. He has also penned two works of nonfiction, one on the Dreyfus Affair and the other on Franz Kafka.

"KILLER, COME HITHER is enjoyable reading. The ending is foretold early on, but knowing your destination is far different from knowing how you will arrive."

While KILLER, COME HITHER is Begley’s first foray into the world of crime, the setting for the novel remains in a locale that is familiar to him. He sets his story in upper-crust New York with a cast of characters comfortable at exclusive clubs in wealthy environs. The star of the book is Jack Dana, a Yale historian who left university life after 9/11 for military service in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has returned to America using his wartime experience as the stepping stone for a literary career. His first novel is a successful endeavor, as is his second. Aided by his beloved uncle Harry, a Wall Street attorney, Jack has become a wealthy young man and celebrates his accomplishments with a lengthy expedition to South America. While traveling, he learns the shocking news that Harry has committed suicide in his Sag Harbor weekend home.

Returning to New York, Jack cannot wrap his head around Harry’s inexplicable act. Little by little, pieces of evidence are uncovered through his investigation of his uncle’s death. He ultimately uncovers the solution in the offices of a prestigious New York law firm, at the tables of posh New York business clubs, and finally in the wealthy weekend getaway community of Sag Harbor. Along the way, he makes ample use of his military experience and CIA connections. And he even finds time for a romantic interlude with an associate of Harry’s law firm.

Not unexpectedly, the evidence leads Jack to the conclusion that Harry did not kill himself. The law firm, seemingly distraught by the death of a partner, behaves in a surprisingly secretive fashion. The portrait painted of his beloved uncle is simply unacceptable to Jack. As his investigation continues, he finds clues that Harry himself left to expose the truth surrounding his death. Jack will avenge this tragedy and along the way will learn a little more about his own character.

KILLER, COME HITHER is enjoyable reading. The ending is foretold early on, but knowing your destination is far different from knowing how you will arrive. Readers get an interesting glimpse into the lifestyle of the wealthy and discover in the world of crime that the upper class can be as heartless and cruel as the most vicious criminal.

Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman on April 24, 2015

Killer, Come Hither
by Louis Begley

  • Publication Date: January 12, 2016
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 0553392441
  • ISBN-13: 9780553392449