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THE NINTH STEP by Gabriel Cohen Kirkus Star


by Gabriel Cohen

Pub Date: June 8th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-312-62501-6
Publisher: Minotaur

In a spellbinding return, Brooklyn homicide detective Jack Leightner investigates a murder in the family.

At 13, Petey Leightner was universally liked, a kid so profoundly sunny that his deeply dysfunctional family stayed together to bask in his aura. Petey was therapeutic. Not so his 15-year-old brother. Jack’s nature was more complicated and much darker, even before that shocking day in 1965 when Petey was stabbed to death while Jack stood by, helpless to prevent his killing and guilt-ridden ever since. Now, years later, NYPD Detective First Grade Jack Leightner, Brooklyn Homicide South, learns from an absolutely reliable source that his brother’s murder was not the random act of urban violence he’d always assumed. Instead, it had been ordered by the mob. Bizarre, right? Thirteen-year-old kids, especially kids like Petey, do not earn the enmity of the Mafia—unless the hit was a message. In that case, though, meant for whom? Jack won’t sleep nights until he gets his answers, and Petey his justice. Meanwhile, the list of other cases clamoring for his attention is topped by a frustrating, enigmatic and increasingly bitter turf war between the NYPD and the Department of Homeland Security. And then, unexpectedly, something entirely different adds to his nocturnal unrest—the endlessly perplexing question of what to do about an old love.

Deftly plotted and convincingly written. Cohen (Neptune Avenue, 2009, etc.) once more does the genre proud.