Warner Jun 2001, 23.95, 326 pp.
Perhaps it is the remains of his youth, but ultra-confident attorney Philip Randall smugly feels he owns the world. Philip has some evidence to support his belief. He is climbing the legal corporate ladder at a record pace. His malleable wife comes from a very wealthy Greenwich, Connecticut family that adores him. Finally, the brazen Philip has a lover, who knows how to excite him.
However, it is the latter that begins to cause Philip great harm. An old acquaintance Tyler Mills has been taking pictures of Philip with his lover. Tyler wants money for his silence or he threatens to blow up Philip's perfect orb. Philip knows that if Tyler talks, his elitist lifestyle ends. However, he also knows that paying the blackmailer will mean a life of feeding this lunatic who will never let go of the cash cow he has cornered.
THE UP AND COMER is a forceful thriller that succeeds because the key characters come across as human. Philip's hedonism, his wife's compliance, his lover's needs, and his blackmailer's rough blend of sadism all ring authentic and make the tale an exciting character study. The story line is told by Philip, which allows readers to slowly see him turn from smug importance to frightened desperado. This technique humanizes the cast even further as readers will wonder what path Philip will take. Howard Roughan is clearly an up and coming author worth following.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner