Eighteen months after the Twin Towers fall, Russian-born Artie Cohen, back in the NYPD fold again (Bloody London, 1999, etc.), finds a new hell in Brooklyn.
Even though Artie’s never been close to his cousin Evgenia or her husband, Sheepshead Bay restaurateur Johnny Farone, he’s always had a special bond with their son Billy, the godson he loves to take fishing. Weeks before the boy is about to turn 12, he disappears just as jogger Ivana Galitzine makes a chilling discovery: a half-buried pile of bloodstained children’s clothes, including a red shirt Billy had been given by his friend May Luca, 10, and also missing. Artie’s boss Sonny Lippert, who heads a special police unit investigating crimes against children, is sure that a serial killer who’s already struck twice in Brooklyn is to blame. But Artie’s not sure of anything, not even whether the clothing came from Billy or May. Unfortunately, his road to enlightenment is dragged out by Nadelson’s sluggish pacing. When even the most promisingly scruffy new arrivals need to say everything three times, as if they were all on bad cell phone lines, it’s no wonder that Artie doesn’t realize “my relationship with Billy validated me as a human being” till page 234. Catching the killer will take even longer.
Worth staying with for its sense of Brooklyn neighborhoods and its shocking conclusion as long as you don’t mind the pervasive moroseness. Even the sex is glum.