K. C. Constantine, Author Mysterious Press $23.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-89296-648-6
Nobody writes about rust-belt angst better than Constantine, whose stories (like 1999's Blood Mud) about the cops and other citizens of Rocksburg, Pa., resonate with generations of failed working-class hopes. Constantine's dialogue has been justly praised for reproducing the frustration of the inarticulate. But now that legendary police chief Mario Balzic has retired and detective Ruggerio ""Rugs"" Carlucci has moved center stage, there seems to be much more personal angst and much less actual crime or mystery. More than half of this new novel has to do with Carlucci's heartbreaking efforts to look after his mother, whose mental decline has taken a dangerously violent turn. Then there's the detective's uncertain relationship with psychiatric social worker Franny Perfetti, as well as his dealings with an ambitious, truculent state trooper, Claude Milliron. Using plenty of trademark dialogue to portray Perfetti and Milliron, the author doesn't devote much space to the basic plot: the murders of 65-year-old steel magnate J.D. Lyons, who helped the town's decline by moving his company to South America, and of local union official Frankie Krull, who didn't protect his workers. The publisher's publicity release quotes a review of Blood Mud that says that Constantine ""virtually leaves crime fiction behind""; hopefully, the jacket of this finely crafted novel will repeat the warning. Mystery Guild featured alternate. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/29/2000
Release date: 06/01/2000
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 978-1-56895-946-7
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7927-2407-0
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-446-67849-0
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