Damaged Goods: A Stanley Moodrow Crime Novel

Stephen Solomita, Author Scribner Book Company $21.5 (380p) ISBN 978-0-684-81584-8

Mountainous Stanley Moodrow, hero of five N.Y.C. crime thrillers (A Piece of the Action, etc.), makes a welcome return--as does Solomita's gritty sensibility, missing from his recent, and weaker, non-Moodrow novels (Last Chance for Glory, etc.). Both the series and ex-cop Moodrow (turning 60 and recovering from a prostate infection) make concessions to age here. Moodrow takes on a partner, young Guinevere Gadd, whose computer skills complement his street smarts. Pitted against the pair is a typically ferocious Solomita villain: crazed killer Jilly Sappone, a minor mafioso who, upon his unexpected release from prison, kidnaps his four-year-old daughter in order to avenge himself against his estranged wife. Hired to find the little girl, Moodrow and Gadd fail tragically, pushing them onto their own path of vengeance--against not only Sappone but also the feds who sprang him to further another case. The action here is fast and gives rise to a piercing urban melancholy. Solomita's characters seem etched in silverpoint as he once again peers into dark corners of both the city and the soul. (Jan.)