cover image Vengeance


Stuart M. Kaminsky. Forge, $22.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-312-86927-4

The versatile and prolific Kaminsky introduces his fifth series hero, Lew Fonesca, in this outstanding mystery. Fonesca is a middle-aged, widowed process server, a transplanted Chicagoan who has made a new home in Sarasota, Fla. He joins a distinguished and varied stable of his Edgar Award-winning creator's other protagonists: a Russian policeman (Porfiry Rostnikov); a Chicago police detective (Abe Lieberman); a private detective to the stars (Toby Peters); and, of course, Jim Rockford. Fonesca is a friendly, unassuming, slightly depressed fellow who makes a meager salary working for several Sarasota lawyers. Occasionally he uses the investigative skills he developed while employed by the state attorney's office in Chicago to do a little ad hoc sleuthing. In his debut, his skills and fortitude get stretched to the limit as he tries to locate two missing persons: a teenage girl whose sexually abusive and violent father has lured her away from her poverty-stricken mother, and a woman who has run away from her wealthy husband. As always, Kaminsky's sense of place is faultless, and he skillfully captures a parade of lively, credible characters, including psychiatrists, truck drivers, pimps, teenagers and social workers. With an early hook, he grabs readers and takes them on a memorably tumultuous ride of violent dips and turns, careening from Sarasota's most squalid shacks to its richest condos. (Sept.)