BOOK REVIEW: 'A Killer in the Wind': Psychological Thriller Introduces Mentally Unstable Cop Dan Champion

Reviewed by David M. Kinchen
BOOK REVIEW: 'A Killer in the Wind': Psychological Thriller Introduces Mentally Unstable Cop Dan Champion

Hungering for more writers like Keith Ablow, Jonathan Kellerman or Andrew Vachss? How about Andrew Klavan?

I was familiar with the first three, as well as number of others writing psychological thrillers, but Klavan was new to me, even though he has written novels filmed by Clint Eastwood ("True Crime") and starring Michael Douglas ("Don't Say a Word").

After reading his latest, "A Killer in the Wind" (Mysterious Press, 304 pages, $25.00) I came away convinced that Klavan is worthy to be mentioned with Ablow, Kellerman, Vachss (If you're not familiar with this novelist, child protection lawyer and animal rights activist, become familiar ASAP), James Patterson (creator of Alex Cross) and even Stephen King.

Three years ago, working vice for the NYPD, Dan Champion uncovered a sex slavery ring run by a kingpin known only as the Fat Woman. Obsessed with bringing her down, Champion infiltrated a world of sexual obsession and perversity. He broke the case, but the case also broke him. He started taking drugs and soon began to form hallucinations: a dead child prowling the streets of New York; a beautiful woman named Samantha who would have given him the love he always wanted—if she had only been real.

After leaving the force, Champion became a small town detective in Tyler, NY, chasing burglars and juvenile delinquents, hanging out at the local tavern where he is romancing a waitress. The ghosts and hallucinations are finally behind him as he begins to rebuild his life. Then one night Champion is called to examine the body of a woman who has washed ashore. Yet when he looks at her face, he sees that it is Samantha, the woman he dreamed about long ago -- a woman he thought was a figment of his imagination. Is she a real person from his past?
Andrew Klavan
Andrew Klavan

Suddenly, Champion is haunted again, only this time its by a team of expert killers who want to make sure he never finds the truth: the truth about the dead child who haunts his imagination; the truth about the lover who inhabits his dreams; and the truth about a killer who has been on the run — in the wind — for a lifetime. The ghosts of the dead are all around him, and Champion has to find out who murdered them, fast, or he could become one of them himself.

Haunted, unstable cops. It seems to me we've had a publishing epidemic of them. I'm finishing reading a novel by Jenny Milchman called "Cover of Snow" about another small upstate New York town where the entire police force seems to be a criminal enterprise. Look for my review soon -- and pray that your town doesn't have unstable cops like the ones in so many novels!

About the Author

Andrew Klavan, born in New York in 1954, is the bestselling author of thirteen novels, including "True Crime", which was made into a film by Clint Eastwood, and "Don't Say a Word", made into a film starring Michael Douglas. He has been nominated for five Edgar awards, winning twice, and is the author of the Homelanders series for Young Adults, which have been optioned by Summit Entertainment (“Twilight”). His essays and op-eds on politics, religion, movies and literature have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. He lives in Southern California.

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