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A commendable procedural, with a superlative protagonist and supporting cast.

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The case of a murdered professional killer prompts a Massachusetts cop to focus his investigation on the individuals who hired the assassin in this thriller.

Detective Lt. Bill Coine’s boss, John Desmond, sends him to Quincy Memorial Cemetery, the site of an apparent body dump. Lying in an open grave is an unidentified male victim. Based on the man’s gloves and accompanying high-quality gun with a silencer, Coine determines the victim was a professional hit man. Furthermore, there’s evidence he had been shooting at someone in the cemetery. Police later ID the man as Joe Buscada, a well-known, mob-affiliated assassin working out of Brooklyn. Coine suspects a link to another individual with mob ties: Boston bookie Harold “Smokey” Goldman, who recently died in a car wreck. The hunch pays off: A medical examiner’s discovery of a bullet hole indicates murder. It seems Buscada killed Goldman before his subsequent target managed to off the hit man. Interestingly, Coine finds a bevy of connections between Goldman and Dan Riley, an attorney who tried to prevent the medical examiner’s autopsy of the bookie. Riley may have been the other target, but he stays mum, even after he miraculously survives a second assassin’s bullet. While Desmond is dead set on proving Riley is Buscada’s killer, Coine starts looking for whoever hired the assassins. This is especially vital once it’s clear that hit man No. 2 still has Riley in his sights. With help from an old Army buddy at the FBI, Coine goes after the baddies he believes are calling the shots in Brooklyn. A prequel to Hanrahan’s (Downsized, 2017) preceding novel featuring Coine, this story follows his last case before retirement. As in the earlier book, the author excels at moving the perspective among an assortment of characters. Coine is a noteworthy protagonist; his deductions are quick (and believable) and he mentors novice trooper John Neiberg. But other characters stand out as well, from antagonistic and rather incompetent Lt. George Petruska to Dr. Rebecca White, who eventually befriends Riley. Hanrahan distinguishes the myriad characters primarily through memorable dialogue: Coine has a catchword (“Bingo!”) and the Brooklyn villains sport a discernible lilt (“Hey walyo, dat’s no way to tawk to your big brudder”). Regarding plot, there isn’t much mystery, at least for readers. For example, an early scene reveals Goldman’s death as murder while the assassination attempt at the cemetery is likewise no secret. But Coine’s meticulous investigation is engrossing, including steps such as the detective fighting for a judge to pass a Motion for Autopsy. It aptly displays the cop’s resolve, which never wavers. The story is furthered enhanced by Riley’s part in the case; he employs legal wrangling in a bid to ensnare the at-large hit man. That villain is an unmitigated menace who, following his failed assassination attempt, continues to target Riley more for “a score to settle” than financial compensation. The denouement, though not entirely surprising, entails a satisfying wrap-up. While readers will surely keep their eyes out for a Coine sequel (or another prequel), the return of other characters would be just as welcome.

A commendable procedural, with a superlative protagonist and supporting cast.

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5432-4925-5

Page Count: 328

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

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Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.

Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-345-46752-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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