Robert K. Tanenbaum
Pocket, 2002 (2001)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD, e-Book
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Reviewed by Wesley Williamson
his is the latest in the astonishing series detailing major events in the life history of Butch Karp, now chief assistant D.A. in New York City, and his one-eyed and belligerently feminist wife, Marlene Ciampi. The family of course now includes their 16 year old daughter Lucy, linguistic genius and pragmatically pious Catholic, and the twin boys Zik and Zak. As the title portends, Butch, Marlene and Lucy all succumb to temptations of various kinds and deal with the failure in their own ways.
he story hinges on several crimes. A black man driving a stolen vehicle is shot in the back several times by an N.Y.P.D. detective, a
who is backed by the entire department. A slow witted youth is accused, based on circumstantial evidence, of murdering a Jewish diamond merchant. Since this is an election year, the detective is unlikely to be charged despite some puzzling circumstances. In the other case, to avoid the risk of losing Jewish votes, the D.A. intends to press relentlessly for the death penalty. To add to the pressure on Karp, a serial killer has been murdering homeless people, and more killings are likely.
arlene has struck it rich. Her small security company was taken over by an international firm which decides to become a public company. Just before the initial public offering, the firm's operatives carry out a dramatic and highly publicised rescue of American hostages. As a result, the share value rockets, and Marlene becomes at least a virtual multi-millionaire, which unleashes unsuspected, obsessive and frightening traits within her.
ucy is skipping school to feed the homeless, in the company of a mysterious stranger to whom she is physically attracted, while her father is struggling to reconcile the strict rule of law with the practice of politics. Unusually, the book climaxes in melodramatic action in the depths of tunnels under Manhattan. However, the real story is the continued development of Butch, Marlene and Lucy as people, which is totally fascinating and I hope will continue for many books to come.
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