WORLD OF HURT by Richard Rosen


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It's a long way from Cambridge, where retired baseball player Harvey Blissberg (Saturday Night Dead, 1988, etc.) hangs his hat, to suburban Chicago, where his brother Norm's basketball buddy has been killed. But as Harvey finds out when he agrees to look into Larry Peplow's shooting in back of Rimwood Estates, a new development he was pushing, it's even further from Larry's plausible facade to the past he's been covering up. The smooth-talking realtor told one friend he used to be a therapist, another that he once taught English literature; he described his mother alternately as living, emotionally distant, dead. Harvey learns without much trouble -- leads tend to fall into his lap in the novel's deceptively simple first half -- that Larry had suppressed a bona fide offer on a property he was handling in order to wangle a bigger commission. But is it true that he had seduced his party-planning client Marilyn Barger (who's ready to jump Harvey's bones in the front seat of her car), or that, as Marilyn says, Rimwood Estates (""We Take the Worry Out of Living"") is sitting atop a toxic-waste site? It isn't until a cryptic notation in Larry's phone book sends Harvey down east to Portland, where Larry did indeed turn his back on a psychiatric practice, that he realizes just how duplicitous the dead man was and how much it'll cost, even now, to lay him to rest. Familiar traumas, every one, but Rosen's intensity -- especially when Harvey begins to notice how completely he's stepped into the despicable victim's shoes -- makes them bleed afresh.

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 1994
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Walker