James and Cora Bevan go to Jamaica in an effort to repair their ailing marriage. Instead, their marriage undergoes more stress than ever when James accidentally kills a man and Cora finds solace in the arms of another. Can they put their marriage back together before Jamaica manages to destroy it forever?
This book sure is a downer. While it's well written, the whole thing is unsettling, much like Lawrence Block's A Diet of Treacle. James's alcoholic benders and Cora's temptation are well done. You feel for Cora but still aren't that enamored with her as a person, not until the end. Once James tries to pull together to save a man who's going to hang in his place, you really get behind him. The ambiguous ending was a very nice touch.
While not a cheerful book, I'd say The Wounded and the Slain is a well-written one, and a fairly powerful one for a book of its kind. While it looks like a crime book from the outside, at its core it's a study in psychological trauma and self-destructive behavior. Not what I normally look for in a Hard Case but still good.