Thursday, January 28, 2016

"Where It Hurts"

Called a hard-boiled poet by NPR and the “noir poet laureate” in the Huffington Post, Reed Farrel Coleman is the New York Times bestselling author of Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone series. He is a three time Shamus Award winner for Best PI Novel of the Year and a three-time Edgar Award nominee in three different categories. He has also won the Macavity, Barry, Anthony, and Audie awards. Best known for his critically acclaimed Moe Prager Mystery series, Coleman is releasing the first book (Where It Hurts) in a new series featuring retired Suffolk County (Long Island) cop, Gus Murphy.

Brooklyn born and bred, Coleman began publishing poetry in his mid-teens, continued to do so throughout college, and after he began working in the shipping industry. After taking a night class in American Detective Fiction, he quit his fulltime job and began writing his first novel. Where It Hurts marks the publication of his twenty-third novel. He is a former Executive Vice President of Mystery Writers of America, helped found Mystery Writers of America University, and has taught as an adjunct instructor at Hofstra University. He resides on Long Island.

Coleman applied the Page 69 Test to Where It Hurts and reported the following:
From page 69:
When I pulled the door open, a shaft of light followed over my shoulder. That bought me a few steps of anonymity, if not much else. Maybe it’s a refinement of their senses or instinct, but whatever it is, losers can smell cop on you. And no amount of OxiClean or cheap cologne washes it away or masks the scent. I worked with a guy, Bob Ward, who claimed that cops were born stinking of it. The losers turned their heads and looked, not so much out of curiosity as self-preservation. It was fair to say that most of the mutts in Harrigan’s owed something to people on the street and they never knew if the next guy coming through the door was there to collect on their debts or to extract late payment fees. Late fees on the street were as much matters of skin and bone as dollars and cents. I sat down at the bar and ordered a Corona. When I did that, the losers exhaled and went back to waiting in the dark bar for the door to open again.

I waved the barman over. He was covered with so many tats that he looked like a ‘70s subway car. So much so that it was impossible to discern where one tattoo ended and another began. As far as I could tell, all the tats were gang-and-motorcycle-related. Made sense. Harrigan’s was owned by Richie “Zee” Zito, and Zee had once been the Long Island chapter leader of the Maniacs Motorcycle Club. Calling the Maniacs a club was like calling the Gestapo a club. They were thugs. Unlike his patrons, Zee generally liked cops. Why wouldn’t he? His place was a great resource for the Suffolk PD. We knew all sorts of shit went on here, but as long as none of it got too out of hand, we kind of looked the other way. And Zee paid us back in kind. He wasn’t averse to pointing us in the right direction when we needed a tip or a little help in finding a suspect.
Where It Hurts is as much a meditation on grief and loss as a crime story. At its center is Gus Murphy, a recently retired Suffolk County uniformed police officer who had the world or figured out … or so he thought. Gus is a guy who, in spite of twenty years on the job, isn’t a cynical bastard. In fact, when he retires, he thinks he has everything a man could ever want: a great marriage, two nearly grown kids, a lovely suburban house, a nice pension, and all the time in the world to enjoy it all. The universe, though, had different plan for Gus. Shortly after retiring, his son dies of a hidden heart defect while playing ball. Suddenly Gus goes from a man who understands everything to a man who knows he understands nothing. His grief and betrayal are so encompassing that his world and marriage are blown apart.

Two years later, Gus is working as a courtesy van driver and house detective for a rundown hotel near Long Island’s MacArthur Airport. He’s still lost and barely able to put one foot before the other until Tommy Delcamino comes back into his life. Tommy D., an ex-con who Gus had arrested several times, comes to ask Gus’s help in solving the brutal murder of his own son because the SCPD seems utterly disinterested. After Gus reluctantly begins the investigation, Tommy D. is himself killed. Page 69 is takes place as Gus begins looking into both murders. Richie Zee was Tommy Delcamino’s best and only friend.
Visit Reed Farrel Coleman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue