In a terrific debut for retired New York policeman Dee, two detectives investigating mob activities mistakenly fish the wrong cement-filled barrel out of the East River. This one contains the remains of a wayward cop who's been missing for 10 years. While tailing aging mobster Bobo Rizzo, detectives Anthony Ryan and Joe Gregory observe Ugo Bongiovanni, reputed to be the new ``boss'' of the Fulton Fish Market, and two henchman dump a white barrel off the pier at 14 Peck Slip. Certain they've witnessed a mob hit, they're shocked when divers retrieve a rusted barrel filled with Jinx Mulgrew, a cop who'd vanished just before he was to testify about police corruption. The trail is not all that cold, however. Known as the ``King of the Bagmen,'' Mulgrew, according to Rizzo, tried to shake down Bongiovanni for 50 grand the day he turned up missing. But, says Rizzo, the mob didn't kill Mulgrew; cops did. ``You got to face that,'' he says. ``Happens in all families.'' Things get complicated when Gregory learns that his father, Liam, now retired from the force, was prepared to give his old pal Mulgrew $10,000 to help him get away. But Ryan and Gregory also discover that Liam had been seeing Mulgrew's widow for years, even before he disappeared. Then they find an old photograph of Mulgrew on a fishing trip with Rizzo and their own boss, the distinguished Inspector Neddy Flanagan. When the original barrel surfaces near Governors Island, the bullet they take from the victim matches the one taken from Zipper, a mildly retarded informant executed, apparently, for talking to them. However, when they raid the warehouse at 14 Peck Slip, the only gun they find is Mulgrew's .38 service revolver. Filled with plenty of interesting sidelights and enough cop angst to satisfy any stickler for realism. For a novice, Dee manipulates the entangled plots of this police procedural with a surprisingly sure hand.

Pub Date: July 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-446-51770-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1994

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.


A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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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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