cover image The Dog Killer of Utica

The Dog Killer of Utica

Frank Lentricchia. Melville International Crime (Random, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-61219-337-3

Lentricchia’s fast-paced if somewhat mild follow-up to The Accidental Pallbearer finds retired Utica, N.Y., PI Eliot Conte living on an inheritance, with time to indulge his passion for opera and teach a college course in English literature. Things take a sinister turn after the disappearance of a Bosnian Muslim student of his attracts the attention of Homeland Security, and a dark secret from Conte’s past connects to seemingly random acts of violence, including murder. Terse, screenplaylike prose propels the action through Utica’s mean streets (e.g., “5:30, sipping a second double-shot espresso in the kitchen”; “It’s Monday, his and Catherine’s date night, their eat-out night, but Conte cannot imagine eating, in or out”). Despite the title, the book, thankfully, contains no wholesale canine slaughter or graphic details of same. (Apr.)