cover image The Big Silence

The Big Silence

Stuart M. Kaminsky. Forge, $23.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-312-86926-7

Versatile, prolific and reliable, Kaminsky seldom disappoints, whether spinning a tale about his Russian policeman (Porfiry Rostnikov), private eye to the stars (Toby Peters) or Chicago policeman Abe Lieberman. Here Lieberman and his Irish partner, Bill Hanrahan, known to colleagues as ""the Rabbi and the Priest,"" have to handle an onslaught of personal and professional crises. Hanrahan, a former football lineman who missed out on a pro career because of bad knees, is nearly suicidal over a blown assignment that resulted in a kidnapping and murder. Lieberman, a slight, 60ish career policeman, juggles a pair of bothersome cases and a pair of family crises on top of shouldering some of Hanrahan's burden as a partner should. Drawing on Chicago's cultural diversity, Kaminsky enriches the story with a range of Jewish, Irish-Catholic, Korean, African-American, Hispanic and other ethnic characters. In his world-weary, wise and compassionate way, Lieberman uses every tool at his command, from common sense to favors traded as readily with a gang leader as with another cop. Crimes are not so much solved as resolved. And the partnerships Lieberman has forged with his compatriotsDbe they relatives, police officers, suspects or citizensDmake the resolutions and the process of achieving them a joy to follow. (Dec.)