Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hurt Machine-Reed Farrel Coleman

Hurt Machine

Reed Farrel Coleman

Tyrus, Nov 18 2011, $15.95

ISBN: 9781440531996

Brooklyn private investigator Moe Prager learns he has a golf ball tumor in his stomach that reminds him of his discussions with his late friend Auschwitz survivor Izzy Roth about God being the ultimate tough love advocate. His stomach cancer will wait until after his daughter Sarah marries Vermont State Prosecutor Paul, the biological son of Rico, his police buddy back in the Coney Island days.

At a pre-wedding party, his former wife Carmella Melendez pleads with Moe to investigate the stabbing death of her estranged sister, Alta Conseco; the cops show no interest as the bitch got what she deserved. His former sister-in-law was a FDNY EMT who became the focus of international scorn a few months ago when she and her peer Maya Watson refused to treat cook Robert Tillman as he was dying at an upscale restaurant from a stroke. Mo never could say no to Carmella even though she ripped out his heart when she left him for Toronto. Watson in hiding offers little useful information to Moe as she prefers to remain concealed. He makes little progress, but refuses to quit as he slowly, with the help of a former cop buddy, uncovers a department filled with de facto harassment and extortion.

Moe’s cynical bone weary Brooklyn shtick makes for a strong private investigative thriller loaded with plausible twists and a terrific resolution. The story line is an action-paced trek on the mean streets of New York as Prager is at his best, which says a lot (see Empty Ever After and Innocent Monster), working his element of looking into sleaze.

Harriet Klausner

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