cover image Dancer in the Flames

Dancer in the Flames

Stephen Solomita. Severn, $28.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8228-8

This dark, satisfying crime novel from Solomita (Angel Face) introduces Boots Littlewood, a deeply flawed Brooklyn police detective perfectly cast to deal with the hard luck, hard-living characters that surround him. Boots passes on a tip about a witness to a cop killing that rises through the chain of command until it comes back to land hard on the witness, hapless car thief Vinnie Palermo. As a result of the tip, Boots is appointed to the task force investigating the killing of Capt. Christopher Parker, and is partnered with attractive Jill Kelly (aka Crazy Jill), niece of the chief of detectives, Mike Shaw. Boots sees a frame coming down on Palermo, finds evidence that would clear Palermo, and suffers a beating that sends a clear message. Boots gets the message, delivers one of his own, and—with Jill’s aid—finds links to other crimes and other cops. Solomita seasons his tale with grit and gristle, and Boots deserves more than a one-shot appearance. (Mar.)