Good Neighbors

Gorman Bechard, Author
Gorman Bechard, Author Carroll & Graf Publishers $24 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7867-0512-2
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
Paperback - 406 pages - 978-1-4564-5934-5
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In his first mystery, novelist Bechard (The Second Greatest Story Ever Told; Balls) deftly captures the story's working-class neighborhood setting. Juke Miller, an ex-cop who left the force after killing an innocent person, now runs a bar in Harmony, Conn., a slightly downscale suburb of New Haven. When Juke's best friend and neighbor, Reggie DeLillo, is killed by a cop after apparently shooting a teenage neighbor who poisoned his beloved dog, Miller quickly doubts the official version of the incident. Aided by his former partner and a friendly female officer, Juke angers his old adversary, Harmony police chief Marion Bradbury, by suggesting that somebody else killed the teenager. Ballistics evidence proves Juke right: now he has to help nail the real killer. Was it Reggie's overheated young wife, Anabelle, who had liaisons all over town--including one with the cop who shot her husband? Or is the secret buried within the troubled teenager's outwardly normal family? With further attention Juke could turn into a character as fully dimensioned as Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder--another guilt-ridden ex-cop. In the meantime, Bechard's ear for dark comedy and eye for social nuance are this book's strong suits. (June)
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