RE: RARA-AVIS: Closing Time

From: Gary (
Date: 28 Sep 2001

Here is my review of Closing Time from my website. I also thought it was a particularly strong on portraying New York with a positive twist on its reputation. I would recommend this title to P. I. readers as one of the titles to be short listed for the Shamus for best first of 2001.

Terry Orr is haunted by violence. Just recovering from the murder of his artist/wife Marina Fiorentino and their young son Davy, he has decided to become a P. I. Ostensively he is doing this for research on a book, since his first career was as a writer. But the real reason is to develop the skills to hunt down the missing killer of his family, Raymond Montgomery Weisz. Surprisingly, he finds himself involved in two separate criminal acts: the murder of a black gypsy cabbie named Aubrey Brown and the bombing of the art studio owned by Orr's friend Judith Henley Harper. Harper had been exhibiting the works of Sol Bech, and the staff at Harper's studio believe Sol's father may be the bomber. Orr has his doubts. He also has his instincts; instincts that tell him a scarred young black man named Montana is showing too much interest in the death of Brown. Like a boat tossed on an ocean in a storm, Orr is pushed from case to case by the waves, never really seeing the clear horizon because of the next wave. Meanwhile, he struggles with his memories and tries to care for his twelve-year-old daughter Gabriella. She is precocious, but not off-putting and although she is deeply involved in Orr's life, she is not a co-detective like Serendipity Dahlquist in the Leo Bloodworth books by Dick Lochte. Eventually all three concerns are dealt with, but only one of the three is really resolved. This difficulty with the plot does not hold back the book, which is well paced, has great characters, and uses its New York City setting to the maximum. Plotters may not be happy, but to everyone else this work can be highly recommended.

Best, GWN Gary Warren Niebuhr P. O. Box 341218 Milwaukee, WI 53234

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