cover image The Letter Writer

The Letter Writer

Dan Fesperman. Knopf, $26.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-101-87506-3

North Carolina police detective Woodrow Cain, the hero of this intelligent, if flawed, thriller, must overcome his provincial ways and navigate the corrupt, racist world of big-city law enforcement on his arrival in New York City in 1942. His first case, what appears to be a simple murder of a man found dead in the Hudson River, quickly leads Cain to an uncomfortable discovery: patriotic zeal has led the NYPD and the city’s crime bosses to enter into a tacit understanding to work together to cleanse the city of troublesome immigrants. Fesperman (Unmanned) shows a skilled hand at creating the detail of wartime New York—the vitality of the German Yorkville section, the hysteria following the bombing of the luxury liner the Normandie, the influence of mobster Meyer Lansky. Unfortunately, the plot splinters in several directions and never delivers on its initial promise. Still, the likable and well-drawn Cain will go over well with readers, especially those fond of historicals. [em]Agent: Jane Chelius, Jane Chelius Literary Agency. (Apr.) [/em]