Eureka by William Diehl

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Synopsis

The Barnes & Noble Review
A fast-paced ride through the politics and hidden agendas of a remote northern California town, this novel from New York Times bestselling author William Diehl is a dark tale that heralds back to the finest days of noir. The ironic title works especially well here, covering the bases for each plot thread as it unravels -- from private deceptions to those with consequences for everybody involved. This is a finely plotted multigenerational tale of corruption which unfolds in an expert fashion spanning over forty years.

The novel alternates between several historical plotlines. In the early 1900s, the Old West is still alive in the California town of Eureka. It's a so-called den of iniquity, where money made from brothels and bootlegging quickly changes hands. In 1945, Zee Bannon of the LAPD is hospitalized from wounds received during WWII. His former partner Ski Agassi has been hunting through records investigating a case involving a Jane Doe who was found dead in her tub four years earlier -- an unsolved case which still haunts Bannon, and one he hopes to crack now that he's back from Europe.

Bannon discovers the woman's lost bank account, which takes him to Eureka, now renamed San Pietro. There he meets the infamous Sheriff Culhane who has aspirations to be the next governor. As the story flips back and forth through time we learn more about young Culhane and how his legendary exploits in World War I cover secrets that might eventually destroy him -- and possibly Bannon as well.

Diehl has a wonderful talent at weaving clandestine situations and the corrupt politics of several timelines. History plays a large part in the book and scenes play out with an energy that scoops the reader along into the narrative. All parties involved are constantly discovering more about themselves and just what the cost might be for each stand that's taken.

Eureka works on several levels while the mystery components often take a back seat to equally involving situations of a more personal nature. It's the author's bleak but sanguine world view, and his understanding of conflicting human nature, that will bring you to a gripping, unforgettable finale. (Tom Piccirilli)

 

About William Diehl

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William Francis Diehl, born December 4, 1924, in Jamaica, N.Y., served as a master sergeant in Italy during World War II. He was a gunner on a bomber, for which he received the Distinguished Flying Cross. Diehl graduated from University of Missouri-Columbia with a B.A. in 1949. William Diehl began his writing career in 1949 at the Atlanta Constitution, where he worked his way up from reporter and columnist to managing editor in 1966. Additionally, he worked as a freelance photographer and an actor. His articles have appeared in Esquire, Life, Look, and New York. He started writing his first novel, Sharky's Machine, while serving as a juror. The novel was published in 1978 and was later made into a movie. His 1993 novel Primal Fear also became a movie. He died of aortic embolism on November 24, 2006.
 
Published January 1, 2002 by Ballantine Books. 440 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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