JUSTICE DENIED by Robert K. Tanenbaum


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Although this sixth entry by Tanenbaum (Material Witness, 1993, etc.) featuring New York DA, Homicide Bureau chief, Butch Karp and his wife and co-worker, Marlene Ciampi, could have used some editing, it works as a routine legal thriller with unusually fleshed-out characters. When a Turkish UN diplomat is murdered, an Armenian nationalist, quite possibly a member of the Armenian Secret Army taking credit for the killing, is quickly tracked down and fits the suspect profile perfectly -- so perfectly in fact that Karp doubts his guilt. Meanwhile, Ciampi is trying to track down a killer who left tooth marks on a woman's body either before or after raping her and then tossed her from a window. Readers who are not familiar with Tanenbaum's previous books may have some trouble locating themselves here, since multiple detectives and other characters appear without much introduction. The various strands of the story connect too late, and there are several lengthy meetings filled with a lot of dialogue that ultimately reveals little. As usual, however, Tanenbaum gets all the details of investigative work and Manhattan exactly right. For example, Karp has a computer at his disposal but prefers to keep track of the cases under his jurisdiction by drawing charts by hand. On the personal side, the owner of Karp and Ciampi's loft has decided to take their building co-op and is asking an exorbitant sum, and Karp's knee is still hurting from his stint as a basketball player in a previous investigation, forcing him to sleep in his office until Ciampi comes up with an ingenious solution for hauling him up to their elevatorless home. A final scene in which the life of Karp and Ciampi's daughter is threatened feels forced, however. A middling effort.

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 1994
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Dutton