DANCER IN THE FLAMES by Stephen Solomita


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A nothingburger murder committed by an associate leads Brooklyn police detective Boots Littlewood into a wild maze of felonies past and present.

Sure, Frankie Drago killed his sister. But it’s not as if he meant to push Angie down the basement stairs or harm her in any other way, even though he took the trouble to strip the body, fake an abduction and strangling, and dump it in Prospect Park. Since Boots has been availing himself of Drago’s bookmaking services to place bets on the Yankees for years, the least he can do is cut Drago some slack in return for information on a much more juicy homicide: the execution of Capt. Christopher Parker. Drago names a witness, car thief Vinnie Palermo, who saw the killing go down. When Boots, newly partnered with Detective Jill Kelly, digs up Palermo and turns him over to his boss in the 64th Precinct, Homicide Lt. Carl Levine, Levine’s superiors respond by stitching up Palermo for the murder and closing the case. What’s not closed is Boots’ sense of justice, his personal safety—people begin shooting at him as if it were opening day of hunting season—or his lust for the wild woman he’s been paired with. Together, the two salt-and-acid partners trace a spreading pool of police corruption back a decade to the case of the Lipstick Killer and forward to a series of coverups that implicate nearly every Brooklyn officer who’s ever donned a uniform.

Solomita, who made his bones as a noir stylist (Angel Face, 2011, etc.), keeps the sex as gritty as the violence. By the fade-out, you may feel in need of a hot shower.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7278-8228-8
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Severn House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2013


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