cover image A Good Day to Die

A Good Day to Die

Stephen Solomita. O. Penzler Books, $21 (297pp) ISBN 978-1-883402-03-7

Solomita's ( A Twist of the Knife ; Bad to the Bone ) latest novel is a relentlessly talky book, filled with acts of violence unimaginatively described. Roland Means, a chronic maverick in the NYPD, is pulled from cop purgatory--ballistics duty--to go after ``King Thong,'' the supposed serial killer responsible for the murder of seven male prostitutes in New York City. Vanessa Bouton, a black cop, hates Means's guts but needs his streetwise methods to help prove her hunch that only one killing was prompted by a motive, which the other six are meant to mask. What she doesn't know (although readers learn it early) is that a psychotic couple has abducted a young blind Asian woman who is the latest victim in the bloody rampage that has claimed 23 women along with the seven gay men. To be more than simply gratuitous, the brutality of the action here calls for subtler storytelling skills than Solomita employs. Means, the first-person narrator of much of the story, is a boastful, self-centered chump of a he-man. The effect of his machismo on Bouton is predictable; nor is there much surprise in the fate of the sympathetically portrayed abducted girl. The killers' motivations are satisfyingly twisted but also have a somewhat predictable ring. (Oct.)