St. Martin's, Dec 2001, 23.95, 256 pp.
After years serving as a defense attorney, fifty something Don Robak becomes a circuit judge in a Southern Indiana's County. Don, his wife Jo, and their son are a happy family when their joy is shattered. Jo becomes ill with a dangerous fever that the doctors have no idea what is causing it but Don suspects foul play.
When the fever finally breaks, Jo is left with brain damage that requires round the clock care taking. He brings Jo back home, but soon places her in a nursing home when someone fires a shot into his house. He sends his son off to live with a friend in another state while Don begins to track down the individual wanting either he or his wife dead, knowing that he has made a wealth of enemies over the years.
Readers feel the love the judge feels for his spouse as this first person narrative turns him into a sympathetic hero though his control rivals that of Job. Between a flaky militia, a local cult, and a powerful family, the investigation leads he investigators down a Byzantine path. ROBAK IN BLACK is a first class amateur sleuth tale because of the Robak relationship before, during, and after the illness.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner