Just Finished: The Fourth Victim by Tony Spinosa (Reed Farrell Coleman), 2008, 9781606480106.
Hose Monkey was a revelation to me. Coleman's writing was great but the Long Island setting was entirely new to me and Coleman gave a full tour of the working class towns there: class warfare, immigration issues, the tough work of the heating oil businesses, developmentally disabled people, the Russian mob. This one was good but did not pack the punch of the first.
Joe Serpe has teamed up with former enemy Bob Healy to own a heating oil business. They run about four trucks and are doing okay on their way to saving enough money to buy a bar together. Serpe and the other C.O.D. drivers are on edge and night driving at night after the murder/robberies of three drivers. A fourth driver, Rusty Monaco, is killed. No one really gives a rat's ass about Rusty. He was a major asshole of a former cop who no one loved. But, Rusty had saved Joe's life during a narc operation shoot-out several years ago. Once Joe founds out an incompetent County cop is in charge of the murder investigation Joe promises himself to do whatever he can to solve the murder. Healy comes along.
Joe and Healy work the case- bad idea as private citizens. They look for connections among the dead drivers, start digging into Rusty's past, Joe meets Rusty's sister and bangs her, Bob ( a former internal affairs department cop) meets with a current IAD and gets his groove on, Joe and Bob find links to an old crime Rusty was involved in.
A good novel. Joe and Bob are good characters and a neat team. Comments:
1-This was 230 pages but I think Coleman could have tied the ending up a little better and quicker. This is one of those false endings where things get all wrapped up until the protagonists find a new clue that exposes a missing truth. I like those kind of endings but just felt this did not stack up as well as it could have.
2- I think the editing or proofing felt loose. Nothing I will point too, I feel like a griper by even saying that.
3- What the hell is a .9 millimeter handgun?
4-I bought some other Coleman named novels for the Library but have not gotten to them yet.