Monday, April 09, 2007

The Alibi Man

Elena Estes, the interesting heroine from Tami Hoag's novel Dark Horses, returns in Hoag's newest novel, The The Alibi Man. In this novel the lushly rich setting of Palm Beach, complete with pampered wealthy members of society and international polo stars, is seamlessly placed with the seamier side of the same life. The morning after her break-up with James Landry, Elena stumbles on the dead body of Russian immigrant Irina Markova, a friendly co-worker. Driven to find Irina's killer, and battle her own personal demons, Elena becomes immersed in a dangerous game being played by a group of rich playboys who call themselves the Alibi Club; each pledging to be the other's alibi when needed. Complicating the case are her ex-fiance, a playboy polo star, her estranged father, the Russian mob and the quietly demanding presence of Landry. Elena draws closer to the truth and must fight for her life. Someone with his own agenda wants a different brand of justice meted out for Irina's death.

This is a fast paced novel with short, concise, chapters and an interesting cast of characters. Though Russian mob scenes were a bit type cast, they did not distract from overall dynamics of the plot. It would have been easy to write Elena into a box, making her bitter and unfeeling. Hoag resists this temptation and presents Elena as a complex individual with human failings and potential for growth. Here's hoping there are more books planned for Elena and James.

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