Heaven and Hell

Arthur Altman, Author St. Martin's Press $18.95 (332p) ISBN 978-0-312-04326-1
Altman's riveting debut is an insider's look at the sordid horrors of crime and corruption in the South Bronx. Al LoConti is a dedicated young prosecuting attorney who, at the expense of his marriage, rises in rank from the lowly Narcotics Bureau to the most prestigious division of the judicial system--his heart's desire, Homicide. There he is called to the scene of one grisly murder after another, for which Altman furnishes gruesomely detailed descriptions: butchered bodies, slit throats, severed limbs. (LoConti's most routine case is a ``Bronx divorce,'' in which the offended hubby ends the marriage by shooting his wife in the head.) LoConti suspects that many of the more senseless slayings have been committed by a single person; boy-genius Ronald Depew becomes the focus of his investigation. Depew's favorite victims are old ladies, but when desperate he will throw a dog from an apartment building. Although the story lacks psychological complexity--the minds of the characters are not adequately explored--Altman offers action, a colorful cast and a macabre wit. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1990
Release date: 08/01/1990
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