Life Goes Sleeping

Reed Farrel Coleman, Author Permanent Press (NY) $21.95 (271p) ISBN 978-1-877946-05-9
Billed as a hard-boiled detective novel, this mystery debut ambitiously attempts to recall pulp fiction of the '30s and '40s. Coleman shows skill in creating the salty, quick-witted dialogue that readers expect from this genre, giving the best lines to a wisecracking bush-league insurance investigator, Dylan Klein. We're introduced to Klein at his mother's funeral, which he leaves in disgust in order to take a sentimental trip back to his old neighborhood of Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, N.Y. There he meets Alexander Korin, a small, elusive Russian. With little explanation, Korin hires Klein to track down a man named Mikhail Brodsky, whose life he supposedly saved during WW II. Coleman hooks the reader immediately with the surprise shooting of Korin, during which Klein is knocked out by a gun butt. When he awakens to find a headless corpse, Klein becomes embroiled in an extremely complicated plot involving a threatening mystery man who uses the phone to orchestrate Klein's treacherous endeavor to find Brodsky. Coleman gets in over his head by throwing in too many plot twists regarding German-Russian relations, and the cliched introduction of a seductive woman posing as Korin's daughter typifies a tendency toward sensationalism that undermines an otherwise compelling story. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
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