Cold Steel Rain

Kenneth Abel, Author
Kenneth Abel, Author Putnam Publishing Group $24.95 (448p) ISBN 978-0-399-14662-6
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
Hardcover - 406 pages - 978-0-7528-4440-4
Hardcover - 978-1-58547-077-8
Hardcover - 439 pages - 978-1-74030-443-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 384 pages - 978-0-451-20545-2
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Following his well-received debut mystery, Bait, Abel introduces former assistant D.A. Danny Chaisson in a gripping tale of political misdoing and murder set in New Orleans. Now working for a powerful state legislator, Danny is responsible for delivering wads of political payoff money around the New Orleans area. Things start unraveling when five people die in a restaurant shoot-out, two of them Danny's friends. Soon various odd characters get into the act: Jimmy Boudrieux, the corrupt speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives; his chief legislative aide, Lucas Clay; the New Orleans police; beautiful ATF agent Mickie Vega; Jimmy's daughter, Maura; Danny's ex-wife, Helen; a crooked parish deputy and a crooked land developer. Danny, of course, must sort it all out. While the third-person point-of-view requires readers to deduce characters' loyalties from their statements and actions, Abel cleverly inserts tidbits of information to indicate who is on the good side and who is allied with whom. The novel moves fast, yet it retains an atmospheric aura of lethargy. The New Orleans setting is well integrated into the story; the weather descriptions, the slowness of people's daily activities and the duplicity of many of the characters' actions combine to create a dense miasma of sleaziness. (Sept.)
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