Delacorte, Feb 24 2009, $24.00
Paul and Sara Callaway leave Boston for Clark Falls, Iowa. They moved due to her obtaining a position in town. When a teacher is injured, he is hired to replace her for the semester as an English professor at the local college. However, their first night proves auspicious when they have to run off an intruder. They meet self proclaimed neighborhood protector former cop Roger Mallory who welcomes them into his inner circle.
However, Paul becomes concerned when he realizes that Roger is conducting undercover surveillance of his neighbors without their permission. They argue over security vs. rights. Soon afterward the cops arrest Paul during a faculty party. The charges are three counts of producing pornographic images of a minor, which if found guilty can result in up to fifteen years and $200,000 fine. The accuser is Brittany Seward, the thirteen years old daughter of his next door neighbor. His lawyer Douglas Bennett paints a bleak picture. Although the evidence is overwhelming as his hard drive will prove impossible to explain, refusing to be locked away without a fight, Paul investigates the person framing him: Roger.
From the opening scene when the cops arrest Paul until the final CLEANUP of all the DIRT, SAFER is a fast-paced thriller of an academic in deep trouble with increasing proof he committed the crimes he is accused of. Paul is terrific as a yuppie desperately trying to prove his innocence. The support cast, mostly with its close knit small town attitude, close in on hanging him. Although Clark Falls is more or “loess” a Peyton Place with the residents having many dark secrets, Sean Doolittle provides ax exciting thriller.