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Bird's Eye View
ISBN 0446611662 / 9780446611664 / 0-446-61166-2
Publisher Warner Books Inc
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Penzler Pick, August 2001: J.F. Freedman is a wonderful storyteller whose six previous novels have been nothing less than compulsive page-turners. This, his latest, is no different.
Meet Fritz Tullis, lovable failure. He should be on top of the world. He comes from one of the most prestigious families in Maryland and, until recently, taught at the University of Texas. That all ended when he was discovered having an affair with the wife of one of the university's most generous donors. Now he's back on his mother's land living in a little shack, drinking too much, and indulging in the local women.
But Fritz is also an enthusiastic photographer who spends his early morning hours trying to get rid of a hangover. He takes a small boat to the marshy areas near Chesapeake Bay where he has been watching migrating birds, especially Ollie, a whooping crane (an endangered species) who seems to have lost his way and ended up with a group of sandhill cranes in the marshes of Maryland. Fritz knows that he should be informing a wildlife preservation group about this lost bird, but then the place would be overrun by activists, and there would go his privacy.
One morning as Fritz is watching Ollie he hears a small plane approaching the runway just across the creek. The land belongs to his mother, so Fritz turns his zoom lens towards the plane--and witnesses a murder. That night at his mother's house, Fritz is introduced to the new owner of that piece of property, James Roach, assistant secretary of state. From the moment he meets Roach, Fritz's life is in turmoil. He also meets Maureen O'Hara, the ornithologist from Harvard with the seductive name who just complicates his life further as he tries to keep Ollie's presence a secret. But in Bird's-Eye View nobody is quite who they seem to be, and the reader is kept in suspense until the very last page. --Otto Penzler [via]