The Devil's Own Rag Doll

Mitchell Bartoy, Author
Mitchell Bartoy, Author . St. Martin's Minotaur $23.95 (290p) ISBN 978-0-312-34088-9
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4668-3956-4
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Set in Detroit during WWII, Bartov's fast-paced first novel will appeal to fans of hard-boiled noir. Det. Pete Caudill uses tough tactics to get information from snitches, but has a heart of gold when it comes to dead, violated teenage girls—in particular, an auto company big-shot's wayward daughter, whose body turns up in the black part of town. Capt. John Mitchell rides hard on Caudill and his partner, Bobby Swope, to solve the case, which takes the pair into Detroit's rough-slick underbelly. The victim's African-American boyfriend is implicated, but the roots of the murder may lie deeper. Historical references come fast and furious in the author's fevered attempts to evoke the time period. Sometimes the references work, and sometimes they don't. The same goes for the tough-guy dialogue, which alternates between convincing and forced. A maudlin ending underscores the book's unevenness. Still, Bartov remains a writer to watch. Agent, Andrea Somberg . (Oct.)

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