The tragedy of Long Island–resident Robert McKay began in 1971 during football practice at Hillside High. His future as a possible all-state athlete vanished when fellow player Eric Halls crushed his ankle during a scrimmage. Now, McKay is a plumber, frequently servicing the properties of some of Long Island’s wealthiest residents. When he hears that his graduating class is holding a 40th-anniversary gathering on Long Island, he decides it’s time for revenge. He tracks Eric Halls to a motor lodge and empties his gun into him at point-blank range. Nassau County detectives Henry Gates and Tina Delray quickly begin investigating what appears to be a crime of passion. McKay, however, isn’t finished. He next targets Maureen, his old sweetheart, who drifted away after his injury. At the gathering, she is surprisingly kind to McKay—but his resolve is set. The plumber enlists the help of buddy Tim Hardman, who knows to keep his mouth shut (or else). Crime novelist Tanz provides rich characterization and back story as his detectives close in on McKay. Gates’ assessment of Halls’ murderer is impressively concise: “[I]t was not a professional....[T]he number of shots fired indicated rage and overkill...it was personal.” Tanz also makes it delightfully easy to root against his killer, writing McKay as a boastful dirtbag. Mentions of “American Pie” and other hits from the early 1970s transport readers; unfortunately, too many references to movies and TV shows burst the narrative bubble. At one point, instead of describing a location, Tanz alludes to the set of Hill Street Blues to paint a scene. The tale eventually comes to an exposition-heavy conclusion, not unlike a television drama itself.
A visceral thriller from an author unafraid to reveal his influences.