cover image Soul Patch: A Moe Prager Mystery

Soul Patch: A Moe Prager Mystery

Reed Farrel Coleman, . . Bleak House, $24.95 (233pp) ISBN 978-1-932557-35-0

Set in late 1980s New York City, Coleman's gritty fourth Moe Prager mystery is somewhat less surprising and realistic than its acclaimed predecessor, The James Deans (2005), which won Shamus, Barry and Anthony awards. Prager, an ex-cop turned PI, has a cryptic encounter with his old friend Larry McDonald, the NYPD chief of detectives. Larry slips him a covertly recorded tape of an interrogation of a snitch claiming to know the secret behind the murder of Dexter Mayweather, a major-league drug dealer in the early 1970s. When McDonald himself turns up an apparent suicide, Prager calls in a variety of favors from old friends to sift the truth behind Mayweather's death, even as his marriage hits a lull, leaving him vulnerable to an attractive young Hispanic detective. Less sharply written than earlier books, this effort builds to a fairly predictable solution. (Apr.)