Structured around four fatal falls, Icarus is a gripping new thriller from the writing team that turned out the 1999 hit, Gideon. With the flair of a Hitchcock tribute, its suspense grabs from the start, cranking up the tension as the action moves relentlessly forward.

Russell Andrews is actually a pen name for the duo of writer/editor Peter Andrew Gethers (author of The Cat Who Went to Paris and several other books) and mystery novelist David Russell Handler (who wrote the Stewart Hoag mysteries). Their styles blend to create an entertaining novel in which not everything is as it seems.

When a madman flings young Jack Keller's mother to her death from a high-rise window, the event triggers Jack's lifelong acrophobia. He works his way through college and meets Caroline, a young woman from a wealthy Southern family. They combine their skills to open Jack's, a restaurant that launches an international chain of upscale steak joints.

Meanwhile, unable to have children of their own, Jack and Caroline take in Kid, a friend's orphaned teenage son.

When Kid disappears near the end of his successful college football career, Jack and Caroline are heartbroken and retreat into their lucrative business.

Then, during the opening of a Charlottesville Jack's, tragedy strikes in the form of a botched robbery attempt. Jack is nearly paralyzed in a fall, needing more than a year to recover from his injuries. Kid reappears just as mysteriously as he left, returning as a physical therapist with a Midas touch. During his workouts with Jack, Kid reveals coded details of the Team, the dozen or so sexy women he's dating simultaneously, each referred to by a telling nickname: the Rookie, the Entertainer, the Destination, the Mortician and the Mistake. When a third fatal fall occurs, Jack is plunged knee-deep into trouble, convinced that one of Kid's women is a murderer.

The plot careens in directions unexpected enough to throw off most readers (and we've intentionally concealed some of the more bizarre plot twists to save the surprise). If you like your vacation reading fast-paced and harrowing, Icarus will take you to new heights.

Bill Gagliani is the author of Shadowplays, an e-book collection of dark fiction.

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