THE LONG GOOD BOY: A Rachel Alexander and Dash Mystery

Carol Lea Benjamin, Author . Walker $23.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8027-3364-1

The title pun on Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye and the portrait of an adorable pooch on the front cover may give the reader the impression that Shamus Award-winner Benjamin's sixth Rachel Alexander and Dash mystery is going to be cute. Fuhgeddaboutit! The author's New York mean streets are mean and dirty indeed, if not downright ugly. Fearing they may be the next victims, a trio of transsexual prostitutes ("trannys") hire Rachel to find a friend's killer. Armed only with her formidable pit bull, Dash, Rachel dives into Manhattan's meat-packing district in quest of clues. Benjamin, a former private investigator, depicts this world and its denizens, tranny and otherwise, exceptionally well. Because she has a wonderful ear for dialogue and has interviewed the types of people she writes about, her characters come vividly to life. Among the best of her characters are her dogs, Dash and Clint the dachshund, whom Rachel must train to perform a feat of infiltration worthy of a Mission: Impossible episode. A skilled dog trainer, the author makes her respect for her canine characters' intelligence abundantly clear. There's enough plot to fill a book twice the size of this one, and at times the story seems to go off in several directions at once. More confusing than ingenious, the novel ends like Hamlet, with the cast of villains assembled—and with almost as many corpses strewn about the stage. If it's all a bit too complicated, the best elements, the dogs and trannys, make this a mystery worth reading. Agent, Brandt and Brandt.(Oct. 10)

Reviewed on: 08/06/2001
Release date: 10/01/2001
Genre: Fiction
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