cover image NOT QUITE KOSHER: An Abe Lieberman Mystery

NOT QUITE KOSHER: An Abe Lieberman Mystery

Stuart M. Kaminsky, . . Forge, $23.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-312-87453-7

You can always expect a witty, entertaining read from prolific Edgar-winner Kaminsky, and he delivers the goods in this seventh Lieberman novel (after 2000's The Big Silence). Abe Lieberman, the tolerant, justice-seeking Chicago homicide detective, needs the skills of a contortionist to manage all the crises in his life: two murder cases, his long-time partner Bill Hanrahan's impulsive decision to marry his sweetheart, Iris Chen, immediately (reception chez Lieberman), pressures from his synagogue fund-raising committee and preparations for his grandson's bar mitzvah, which Lieberman must bankroll. Meanwhile, his cholesterol is up and the roof needs repairs. With the skill of a master juggler, the author keeps all the parts of his story moving, alternating Lieberman's personal problems with the search for two inept hold-up men, one the accidental killer of forlorn merchant Arnold Sokol. Kaminsky traces the circuitous but inevitable downfall of Michael Wychovski, the smarter of the two thieves, as he tries to evade his pursuers after the death of Pryor, a dumbbell sidekick who might have stepped out of a Donald Westlake or Elmore Leonard novel. The cases collide when Pryor's body washes up on the shores of Lake Michigan next to Sokol's. Although Kaminsky can plot with the best of them, his characters are the real delights of the book, as is the comfortable, symbiotic relationship between Hanrahan and Lieberman. (Dec. 16)

FYI:Kaminsky is also the author of the Toby Peters, Porfiry Rostnikov and Lew Fonseca series.