cover image The Deal Goes Down

The Deal Goes Down

Larry Beinhart. Melville House, $27.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-61219-990-0

From the gripping opening line, “The woman on the train asked me to kill someone,” Edgar winner Beinhart never takes his foot off the gas in the outstanding fourth outing for Tony Cassella (after 1991’s Foreign Exchange). Now 70 and still devastated by the deaths of his wife and son from years before, former PI Cassella has retired to the Catskills. En route to yet another funeral of an old friend, he’s approached in the Amtrak café car by a woman he barely knows, Maddie McMunchun, who casually mentions that she wants her wealthy husband dead and offers Cassella $100,000 to murder him. Casella, whose house is 36 hours away from being foreclosed, surprises himself by agreeing. But when the time comes for the down payment for the hit to be handed off, Maddie shows up with a partner, Liz Carter, an attorney who states that she’s backing the killing as part of a new venture. Instead of financing litigation that promises profits for Liz, Maddie is launching a business financing homicides. Filled with thoughtfully developed characters, the plot takes further unexpected but entertaining detours. Fans of darkly funny crime dramas such as Fargo will be hooked. (Aug.)