The Blue Wall

Kenneth Abel, Author
Kenneth Abel, Author Delacorte Press $22.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-385-31193-9
Mass Market Paperbound - 432 pages - 978-0-440-21723-7
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-440-78754-9
Hardcover - 571 pages - 978-0-7862-0823-4
Hardcover - 358 pages - 978-0-7528-4441-1
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Resonant prose and a murky narrative result in a mixed verdict for this second work from the author of Bait. A girl's body is pulled from the Harlem River. Her Guatemalan father, Adalberto Cruz, and his silent bodyguard seem less than sorrowful. Dave Moser is the good cop on the case. Across town, a motor-mouthed mob guy is getting ready to testify against his buddies, and Deputy Marshall Claire Locke is in charge of guarding him. Part of his testimony involves regular payments made to cops. Abel's observant eye and clipped writing are considerably more accomplished than his pacing. The informant is a would-be comic whose lame patter drags on; the action lags similarly. Moser, in the midst of divorce proceedings, acts as though he's a cog in machinery whose controls are beyond his reach; both he and the readers spend time waiting for something to happen. At the same time, we watch a crooked cop and wait for him to get snarled up by Internal Affairs or to brutally silence his detractors, nearly forgetting, meanwhile, about Moser and the floater. Abel is a talented writer and he delivers a stunning conclusion, but getting there is heavy going. (May)
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