ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Permanent Press Publishing Company, 4170 Noyac Rd., Sag Harbor, NY 11963.
The Last Refuge (mystery novel), Permanent Press (Sag Harbor, NY), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Chris Knopf's debut novel, The Last Refuge, centers on Sam Acquillo, a man whose life has fallen apart. Once a high-powered executive with a wife and child, Sam punches the chairman of his company's board after the chairman tried to sell Sam's division. His wife divorces him, and he and his daughter are not on good terms. Sam has nothing to do but drink and putter around his parents' Long Island cottage until he discovers his neighbor, Regina Broadbent, dead in her bathtub. Regina is an elderly woman and others assume that the death is an accident, but Sam suspects foul play—he was once an industrial designer, and he knows that bathtub plugs do not hold water for the multiple days that Regina's body appeared to have been lying in the tub. He convinces Regina's unfriendly nephew to let him be the administrator of Regina's estate, which allows him to carry out his investigation. It also gives him license to look into Regina's financial affairs, where, with the help of his friend and banker Amanda Battison, he makes some interesting discoveries. The tale is "arresting," wrote a Publishers Weekly reviewer, with "snappy dialogue and … colorful, oddball characters, including a gay billionaire." A Kirkus Reviews critic commented that "Knopf turns a mean sentence," allowing the author "to make Sam's charged flashbacks more interesting than the main event."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2005, review of The Last Refuge, p. 389.
Publishers Weekly, April 25, 2005, review of The Last Refuge, p. 43.