Kirkus Reviews Starred Review:
In Kleinfeld's spellbinding debut, a young Chicago cop chases a pair of killers-for-hire who are also star-crossed lovers.
As he steps from a taxi, prominent Chicago architect Wilson Willetts is murdered by an inept assassin who thereupon gets himself nabbed with indecent haste. Apart from Willetts's friends and relatives, just about everyone is happy that such a high-profile case has been cleared with such admirable efficiency. Preparing for trial, State's Attorney Sy Vytautis is happy because visions of sugary headlines dance in his ambitious head. The arresting officers, sexy Mark Bergman and grizzled John Dunegan, his mentor/trainer/partner, are happy because the brass in blue are happy. But happiest of all are professional killer Arthur Reid and his alluring, adoring apprentice Dina Velaros. Now that they've dispatched Willetts and framed feckless Emilio Jesus Garcia, they plan a sybaritic retirement in winemaking country, far from their pursuers. Bergman and Dunegan are excellent cops, however, and something about a case so impeccably neat and complete begins to rankle. Sensibilities alerted, they take a fresh look, and soon enough find themselves in an alternative investigation, awash in an archipelago of hidden, homicidal agendas.
Appealing heroes and villains, a quirky love story, wit, style, suspense, plus all the authenticity of an Ed McBain procedural. Lose yourself in it.
A smart, intriguing, very funny thriller...A page-turner that never disappoints.
Mystery Scene Magazine:
Dazzling debut...In addition to a smooth prose style and a great sense of humor, Kleinfeld is terrific at depicting relationships--the people in this impressive first novel come to vivid life.
Rick Kogan, WGN Radio & Chicago Tribune:
A fine, fine, fine book, a book all of you should have, who like mystery and Chicago...You have a real sense of place. And I’ve known a lot of Chicago cops--you really get these guys.
I like Robert Parker, I like Elmore Leonard, I like Lawrence Sanders, and now I like Lenny Kleinfeld.
A grand fishes-out-of-water detective yarn, with more twists and turns than a rollercoaster at Six Flags. And it tops it all off with a tasty and touching May-December romance between a professional killer and his pretty protégé. Call my agent...I want to be in the movie.
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An apparent mugging gone wrong results in the murder of Wilson Willetts, a renowned Chicago architect, in Kleinfelds overly long so-so debut. Initially, the police have an open-and-shut case against Emilio Garcia, a drug-addicted loser identified by three eyewitnesses to the fatal shooting as the gunman. Indicted for the crime, Garcia goes to trial in a politically motivated prosecution. As Chicago PD detectives Mark Bergman and John Dunegan investigate further, they find that the suspects claim he was framed may have some credence. By having the story alternate between the police probe and the efforts to conceal the truth by the forces behind Willettss murder, the author eliminates any suspense about Garcias guilt. The formulaic plot includes such clichés as an implausible escape by one of the detectives from the bad guys clutches despite being restrained in a chair. (Jan.)
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