The Criminalist

Eugene Izzi, Author William Morrow & Company $22 (341p) ISBN 978-0-380-97540-2
Everything that made the late Izzi (A Matter of Honor, 1997; Tribal Secrets, 1992) a spellbinding crime writer is present in this harrowing swan song of a novel. Unfortunately, all the minor narrative irritants that prevented the author from reaching bestseller status are also in evidence. As is usual in an Izzi caper, there are good and bad cops, extensive reflectiveness, little humor evident in the prose or in the characters, and a rollercoaster of a tale that comes close to sweeping all such critical quibbles aside. In the 20 years since Nancy Moran was brutally murdered, her doctor husband Tom has remarried; his brother Terry, who was a suspect, is a psychotic beat cop no one wants to work with; another brother, Frank, is a homeless drunk and also a witness to a new murder and mutilation that very closely resembles Nancy's. Both deaths were horrible, and both threaten to destroy the Moran family. Dominick DiGrazia is the good cop assigned the case, with his new partner, Janice Constantine; Mike Schmidt is the retired burnout and former partner of DiGrazia who was certain that Tom was Nancy's killer. In the psychiatric clinic that Tom Moran directs, a killer named Eddie wanders into a nightly group therapy meeting; his contributions to the discussion increase the suspense quotient. Izzi barrels through the narrative with his usual panache--the scattergun dialogue revealing an unflinching vision of lives twisted by abuse. There are a few too many loose ends and an excess of psychobabble, but with this tale, Izzi departs the crime fiction scene as raw, as flawed and as galvanizing a writer as he entered it 17 books ago. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1998
Release date: 10/01/1998
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 359 pages - 978-0-380-79349-5
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