cover image A Dark and Broken Heart

A Dark and Broken Heart

R.J. Ellory. Overlook, $26.95 (368p) ISBN 978-1-4683-1128-0

Noir fans will welcome Ellory’s intricate take on a familiar theme—a morally compromised protagonist’s desperate efforts to remain alive and redeem his soul. Det. Vincent Madigan, a corrupt NYPD cop, has gotten in way too deep: he owes $75,000 to a drug lord named Sandià (aka the King of East Harlem), for whom he moonlights as an enforcer, as well as more than $20,000 in back alimony. Madigan recruits three crooks to steal hundreds of thousands of Sandià’s own money, so that he can use his share to get out from under, but the plan goes awry when he learns that his co-conspirators know his real identity. He shoots them dead but then finds himself between a rock and a hard place when he’s assigned to investigate who ripped Sandià off, by both his boss on the force and Sandià. Ellory (Saints of New York) makes the plot complications work as he slowly ratchets up the pressure on Madigan, who becomes increasingly sympathetic as he struggles to try to do something right and unselfish for a change. Agent: George Lucas, Inkwell Management. (Aug.)