cover image Another Day’s Pain: A Rocksburg Novel

Another Day’s Pain: A Rocksburg Novel

K.C. Constantine. Mysterious Press, $26.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-61316-483-9

Decades of unresolved trauma power the deeply moving, posthumously published final Rocksburg procedural (after 2002’s Saving Room for Dessert) from Constantine (1934–2023). It’s 2011, and Ruggiero “Rugs” Carlucci, who became Rocksburg’s acting police chief after his mentor’s retirement, is now two years past retirement age himself. Rugs has spent his entire life in the small Pennsylvania town; unmarried and childless, he is one of only two detectives on the ramshackle police force. Meanwhile, his girlfriend, Franny Perfetti, is struggling with the burden of her aging mother’s medical bills, which threaten to bankrupt her. Her plight reminds Rugs of his own mother, whom he committed to a mental facility after she nearly killed one of his colleagues with a frying pan. When Rugs responds to a call about an active shooter much larger and younger than him, the detective draws on the survival instincts he developed 40 years earlier in Vietnam, and the experience spurs him to face long-buried emotional demons. Constantine ends the long-running series on a high note, striking an elegaic tone that never tilts into triteness. Here’s hoping this graceful final act will spark new interest in an unsung master of crime fiction. (Apr.)