Monday, February 2, 2009


By William Lashner
William Morrow/HarperCollins
10 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022
ISBN: 0060508175
Hardback, 474 pages, $24.95
Genre: Mystery

Philadelphia lawyer Victor Carl is broke, as usual, and his father is lying in a hospital bed near death. Victor’s client Joey “Cheaps” Parma seeks Victor’s advice about a murder he was involved in 20 years before of Thomas Greeley, a law student/drug kingpin. Soon after his confession, Joey’s body is found on the waterfront, with his throat slit. Victor, always defender of the underdog, knows the police won’t put too much effort into finding Joey’s killer, so Victor commits to finding out why Joey was murdered. His investigation leads him back to Joey’s youth, and on to the people surrounding Thomas Greeley, including a present Supreme Court jurist and his eccentric wife and her life journals which hold the secret behind Joey’s death.

Victor Carl is perhaps the best character written today. His self-deprecating comments, inner turmoil, and reflections reveal a man whose demons from the past influence his present-day life. The relationship with his father, previously tumultuous, is now mellowing as his father’s health deteriorates. Lashner delivers intriguing characters with real depth and dimension. Victor Carl’s introspections are insightful and well-delivered and simply eloquent. The plot is a twisty one, and the read lengthier than most mysteries, but well worth the time.

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