Hands of a Stranger by Robert Daley (1985)

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Hands of a Stranger
by Robert Daley
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Copyright: 1985
Book Club Edition

In Hands of a Stranger Robert Daley confirms his reputation as our foremost writer of the contemporary urban novel.

Once again he shows his masterly grasp of the emotions of ordinary people confronted with extraordinary stress -- the kind of sudden, unexpected crisis that can happen to anyone, in an age when violence may be waiting just around the corner in even the most orderly of lives.

Three people stand at the heart of this powerful new novel:

Judith Adler is the highest-ranking woman in the New York District Attorney's Office, a woman who, up to now, has always managed to impose order in the aftermath of even the most terrible of crimes, to offer kindness to the victims, to put felons in jail. To Judith the law is mankind's last and best hope, and she has so far not looked past it. Then she meets Inspector Joe Hearn . . .

A particularly odd series of rapes throws them together. Newly promoted to command rank, Hearn is a career policeman. He is also married. A rising star in that most unforgiving of power structures, the NYPD, he is a man who has made the right moves, developed the necessary tunnel vision and black-and-white morality, for promotion to the highest rank. He is totally unprepared for the dark side of existence into which his skills are about to lead him . . .

His wife, Mary, a suburban mother of two, is a Vassar graduate, a would-be artist who still attends classes in New York once a week. She has done her best to be the perfect policeman's wife, at considerable cost to her own feelings, ambitions and desires. Both she and Joe are under the illusion they have a "good" marriage, unaware that it is in fact approaching the breaking point.

When Joe puts his career before her still again, Mary rebels, lets her eye be caught by another man, and sets in motion the events that tear apart the fabric of all their lives . . . .

In Hands of a Stranger Robert Daley has created both a strangely modern love story and a situation of enormous tension. The gritty texture of urban living is on every page. Even the Chief of Detectives Cirillo, caught in a situation that he does not understand; Loftus, high school baseball coach and devoted womanizer, a man who believes that women who say no rarely mean no; and Georg Lyttle, who, being in need of money, thinks he has found a slick way to get it.

To Robert Daley, the police world, the law enforcement world, is a metaphor for good and evil, and he uses it as such. He has an unrivaled eye for its poignancy as well as its drama, as he has proven with such major successes as Prince of the City, Year of the Dragon and The Dangerous Edge. More than this, however, he has a deep intuitive understanding of the emotions that join -- and sometimes divide -- men and women confronted by a crime of violence that strips their feelings for each other to the bare bones. Hands of a Stranger is a powerful work of literature that will keep readers riveted right up to the last page.

Condition: Used. Hardcover. Dust cover shows shelf wear and light discoloration. Pages are tanning from age. Previous owner's "Library Of" stamp is on the front endpaper.

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    • ISBN 0671499629
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