RARA-AVIS: Michael Koryta's _Sorrow's Anthem_

From: Craig Larson ( CLarson@nhcc.edu)
Date: 10 Apr 2006

For whatever reason, I just didn't care that much for Koryta's debut, _Tonight I Said Goodbye_. The characters didn't seem real, the plot was sort of gimmicky... It didn't help that I read it right on the heels of Andrew Klavan's second Weiss/Bishop novel, _Shotgun Alley_ (there's a third, _Damnation Street_, on the horizon). For whatever reason, I just didn't like it.

That said, Koryta's follow-up, _Sorrow's Anthem_, is a great book. Everything I didn't like about that first book has been fixed. The characters seem real, the story flows naturally, the depiction of Cleveland and its close-knit neighborhoods is as good as anything this side of Les Roberts' Milan Jacovich series.

This time around, Lincoln is drawn into a mystery that ties into his past, as he witnesses the unfortunate death of a childhood friend, Ed Gradduk, apparently run over accidentally by a police car while trying to escape arrest. Ed was the prime suspect in a murder/arson case and he was just starting to open up to Lincoln when the cops arrived to take him in. Lincoln had lost touch with Ed many years before when, as a rookie policeman, he'd been responsible for Ed's arrest and imprisonment on drug charges, all the while hoping Ed would save himself and roll over on the real culprit. When that didn't happen, the two best friends became estranged and their tight-knit neighborhood community turned its back on Lincoln and his father.

Unable to clearly spell out his reasons for doing so, Lincoln finds himself investigating his friend's death, which seems to be related to a string of arsons, some recent and some dating back 20 years. There may also be a link to Cleveland's mafia and, perhaps, some police corruption involved.

A very impressive book and now I'm looking forward to Koryta's next. It's hard to believe he's as young (mid-20s) as he is.

Craig Larson Plymouth, MN

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 10 Apr 2006 EDT