Good Sons

K. C. Constantine, Author
K. C. Constantine, Author Mysterious Press $28 (304p) ISBN 978-0-89296-544-1
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 02/01/1996
Mass Market Paperbound - 304 pages - 978-0-446-40354-2
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While last year's Cranks and Shadows saw the retirement of Mario Balzic, Rocksburg, Pennsylvania's top cop, Constantine here passes the series baton to Detective Sergeant Ruggiero ""Rugs"" Carlucci. Balzic's still hanging around, dispensing advice from the sanctuary of his uneasy retirement, but this is Rugs's book. First in line for Balzic's old job, he has to deal with his own self-doubt, the duplicitous mayor and a very difficult mother. He's also first on the scene when a half-dead rape victim calls 911 from the office of a stoneworks. While the victim turns out to be the widow of the company founder, the actual case isn't what makes this effort so good. After 12 works, Constantine is a grand master of expositional dialogue. Rugs has a deceptively simple gift for understatement and staggered, yet logical, expression. He has learned well from the wily Balzic, but he's definitely his own man, as all concerned-not least himself-discover. Imagine a fully functioning mystery placed inside the complex structure of a novel by the likes of Richard Russo, and you begin to get some idea of the depth Constantine routinely brings to his mysteries. (Feb.)
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