HARD, HARD CITY

Jim Fusilli, Author . Putnam $24.95 (278p) ISBN 978-0-399-15217-7

In Fusilli's fourth entry in this complex, character-driven crime series, Terry Orr, single parent and occasional private detective, is more analytical and less self-absorbed than he was in 2003's Tribeca Blues . Daniel Wu, the appealing friend of Orr's precocious teenage daughter, Bella, asks him to find the missing Allie Powell, a student at Manhattan's Fashion Institute of Technology. Orr, guilty about the lack of time spent with Bella and still haunted by the deaths four years earlier of his wife and son, agrees to look for Allie. What initially appears to be a simple search for a wayward teenager evolves into a byzantine trail of theft, violence, murder, blackmail and politics. Fusilli's themes echo those of his mentors, Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald and Robert B. Parker: wealth engenders dishonesty and corruption and, as with the latter two, neglected children. It's not hard to identify the culprits here, though their motives are only slowly revealed. Fusilli is a serious novelist who excels in creating a noirish view of Manhattan and strong characters whose relationships continue to evolve with each book. Agent, Mickey Choate at the Choate Agency. (Oct.)

Forecast: The well-rounded Fusilli—he's also a music critic for the Wall Street Journal and NPR's All Things Considered—will embark on a 10-city tour, which should help keep his readership growing.

Reviewed on: 09/27/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
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