Rosenbaum is a writer to watch. His first thriller is big, bright and successfully old-fashioned, bringing to life worlds unfamiliar to most readers. Manhattan's bustling West 47th St. jewelry district and a Hasidic neighborhood in Brooklyn are the smartly described settings into which alcoholic ex-NYPD detective Dov Taylor must delve to find a stolen 72-carat diamond intended as the dowry of the Satmarer rebbe's daughter, who will unite two long-feuding clans when she marries the son of the Lubavitcher rebbe. For both the spirit and the clues to solve the crime, Dov reaches back to his 19th-century Polish ancestor, the zaddik (righteous man) of Orlik, in a lengthy digression involving the diamond's provenance and a disastrous plot to win Napoleon's protection for the Jews. The present-day disposal of the jewel in the finale will strike some as contrived, but the book has many compensations. Rosenbaum's West 47th St. is as authentic as Gerald Browne's 11 Harrowhouse (located in a similar district in London); the villains are nasty on a grand, gory scale; and Dov's struggle with booze is as gritty as Matt Scudder's is in Lawrence Block's A Ticket to the Boneyard . For goyim , there's a glossary of Yiddish and Hebrew. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993 Release date: 08/01/1993 Genre: Fiction
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