Friday, December 25, 2009

Book Review: Dave Zeltserman, Small Crimes (2008)

Joe Denton, a bad cop fresh out of prison, never has the chance to even try to go straight. His wrecked life is waiting for him in the persons of Sheriff Dan Pleasant (a former partner in crime) and District Attorney Phil Coakley (the victim of the attempted murder that put Joe in prison). Phil is on the verge of having evidence that will put Dan and Joe in prison for a long stretch, so Dan works to force Joe to solve this problem by whatever means necessary. There is no shortage of plot in Small Crimes, but the narrative is driven moreso by the characters. Sheriff Dan and D.A. Phil are no mysteries, but Joe is a more challenging personality to understand, as are several of the supporting characters in the book: Joe's parents; dying crime boss Manny Vassey; and, most of all, Charlotte Boyd, a nurse in the hospital where Manny is dying. Grade: B+

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