""Dirty Harry of Literary Criticism" Frank Lentricchia launches book two of his new mystery series, featuring Eliot Conte, a PI who's "part Mike Hammer and part William S. Burroughs... an instant original," according to the Washington Post. Eliot Conte'sstory is pure noir, as he hunts for a local dog killer in ways that don't always adhere to the law. This novel features the hard diction and the fast pace of the best Italian-American crime fiction. Lentricchia's portrayal of upstate New York--Richard Russo territory--is equally unnerving and poignant. After the events of The Accidental Pallbearer, Eliot Conte decides to leave the private eye game and return to his great love: teaching American literature. He has also embarked on a relationship with Catherine Cruz, the attractive and smart policewoman he met while unravelling the story of his father's involvement with a major Mob hit in the 70s, back in the days when Utica was "the Sin City of the East." But the peace doesn't last long: one of Eliot'sstudents, a Bosnian Muslim, disappears, leaving a trail of texts and emails that suggest a terrorism plot underway, and meanwhile, the tightknit community is disturbed by a series of brutal murders of pet dogs. Eliot thinks there's more to it than a random madman, and that, in fact, the killings might be a message meant for Eliot himself. With the help of Catherine and a teenage hacker, Utica's most reluctant--and most opera-loving--private detective gets back into business"-- - (Baker & Taylor)
Pursuing a teaching job and a relationship with Catherine Cruz after the events in The Accidental Pallbearer, Eliot Conte investigates a Muslim student's disappearance amid clues about a terrorist plot and a series of pet dog killings. Original. - (Baker & Taylor)
Pursuing a teaching job and a relationship with Catherine Cruz, Eliot Conte investigates a Muslim student's disappearance amid clues about a terrorist plot and a series of pet dog killings. - (Baker & Taylor)
“Vivid and unnerving . . . Eliot Conte is an instant original.”
—The Washington Post
Someone's shooting dogs in Utica . . .
Ex-PI Eliot Conte (“part Mike Hammer and part William S. Burroughs,” according to The Washington Post) thought he’d escaped the sordid underworld of long-established Mafia networks, unsolved crimes, and the specter of his political kingmaker father that make up the background in his gritty hometown of Utica, New York.
He’s returned to his old love, teaching American literature, and a new love, policewoman Catherine Cruz. But the peace doesn’t last long.
First, one of Eliot’s students, a Bosnian Muslim, disappears, leaving a trail of texts and e-mails that suggest a terrorism plot underway. Meanwhile, the tightknit community is disturbed by a series of brutal murders of dogs.
And no matter where he looks, the trail seems to lead back to secrets Conte hoped he’d buried forever. - (Random House, Inc.)
*Starred Review* Eliot Conte, the private investigator turned American lit professor introduced in The Accidental Pallbearer (2013), is shocked when one of his closest friends is gunned down, nearly killed, in his own home. Eliot's pretty sure he knows who's responsible, and he's also pretty sure he'll be the next guy in the assailant's crosshairs. Most mystery protagonists have some personal baggage, but Conte has significantly more than most: he's a recovering alcoholic; he has serious issues with rage; he's carrying a load of guilt over the death of his children (murdered, he thinks but can't prove, either by his ex-wife or her husband); and he's done some dark deeds, including one thing in particular that, Eliot believes, is coming back to haunt him now. The author has a stripped-down, almost minimalist writing style: narrative passages are lean and tight, and dialogue is frequently uninterrupted by narration of any kind. The story, which is told in the present tense for maximum suspense, is dark and tragic, and it's nearly impossible to turn away from it. A terrific crime novel. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
Library Journal Reviews
Explosive behavior, loyalty, and a love of literature define Utica's Eliot Conte, a reforming alcoholic and part-time professor. A year after the murders of his two daughters, Eliot grapples with his newest challenges. Apparently, Homeland Security believes one of Eliot's students, Mirko Ivanovic, is a terrorism threat. At the same time, someone has just tried to kill his cop friend, Bobby Rintrona. Paranoia might be Eliot's middle name because he suspects Antonio Robinson, Utica's police chief, owing to an earlier incident. Then Mirko's parents are killed, and Eliot's fury is redirected. Bobby lives but his dog is killed, execution-style. Eliot's paranoia escalates as the body count, both human and canine, rises—and won't be quelled until he can confront the villain. VERDICT The pages sizzle with intensity in this gritty, operatic, and wholly engaging tale. No matter if readers are new to the characters (introduced in The Accidental Pallbearer), Lentricchia's crystal-clear prose spells it out. Reckless and passionate, his protagonist demands attention. I like partnering this densely woven mystery with crime thrillers by Ken Wishnia, Reed Farrel Coleman, and George Pelecanos.
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