cover image Last Chance for Glory: A Novel of Suspense

Last Chance for Glory: A Novel of Suspense

Stephen Solomita. Otto Penzler Books, $21 (310pp) ISBN 978-1-883402-27-3

Solomita's second book not to feature his NYPD series hero, Stanley Moodrow, follows last year's A Good Day to Die and is more successful than its predecessor--but not by much. Here, the PI is computer whiz Marty Blake, who on his first case at his own New York City agency, kicks over a bucket of worms. As in previous Solomita novels, colorful figures dominate. Of particular note are Maxwell Steinberg, the eminent lawyer with the lousy wig who hires Marty to assist his efforts to free Billy Sowell, a retarded black man wrongly accused of murder years before, and retired rummy cop Bela Kosinski, who redeems his earlier involvement in Billy's case by teaming up with the PI. Marty himself is a bland hero, easily overshadowed by his more seasoned and charismatic sidekicks. But most missed is Solomita's strongest series element, the mean streets of New York, which he has previously mapped with grit and savvy. The story line, tracing the original cover-up, which was spun by bad cops, a spineless judge and a murderous politico, delivers some jolts, but without New York's commanding urban presence, this tale fails to deliver Solomita's usual high caliber of down-and-dirty action. (Sept.)