In the Raw

One thing about writing a mystery series that strikes dread in my heart is the thought of getting in a rut. My protagonist is a police detective and she investigates crime: that can never change. So the trick is to find ways to make each case distinctive, to show changes taking place in Marian's personal life, to involve other characters deeply enough to avoid a single-note tone, to look for anything that will make the book a little different.

Full Frontal Murder is very different.

For one thing, a pronounced erotic strain runs through this story, something new to the series. For another, the writing of this book was tied into an outside complicating matter, which I explain on the Holland and Avon page. But the primary difference is that in this book, Marian Larch is no longer able to keep her professional and her private lives separate.

The story: A botched kidnapping attempt brings Marian in on an especially ugly child-custody battle. The four-year-old boy who is the only one who saw the kidnapper up close turns out to be the center of more than just a marital dispute. Then people connected with the case start dying. Marian is convinced neither parent is responsible, that a third person is manipulating both of them for some purpose of his own.

But as Marian gets closer to identifying the killer, she unknowingly puts her lover Curt Holland into danger. Holland is forced to suffer pain and degradation on her account, and Marian needs all the strength she can summon to cope with this vicious series of events. Her realization of what she could lose changes her forever.

In short, this one is not for cozy-lovers.

For this novel I sent the showbiz folk to Hollywood -- Kelly Ingram, Ian Cavanaugh, Abigail James -- to make the movie version of The Apostrophe Thief. Mostly I needed to get them out of the way; this seventh book in the series has a large cast and a complex plot and there simply was no room for them in the story. One of the three does return briefly toward the end, however.


Publisher's Weekly:
"The usual clipped style of Paul's Marian Larch series provides complementary understatement to a plot in which the NYPD detective's personal life gets dangerously tangled in her professional one...Paul's linear procedural is packed with detailed insights to the workings of a metropolitan department."


N.Y.: Scribner, 1997, ISBN 0-684-19716-24
London: Piatkus, 1998
N.Y.: Worldwide, 1998, ISBN 0-373-26284-1
Walton, ME: Thorndike Press, 1998

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Page created June 26, 1995; last updated October 30, 2000.