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Closing Time Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 2002

4.1 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Terry Orr Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This first novel by the Wall Street Journal music critic mixes a noirish, suspense-packed story and sharply defined characters, including Diddio, an affable, spacey music critic. Two years earlier, a lunatic pushed writer/researcher Terry Orr's acclaimed artist wife and their infant son beneath a subway train, leaving Terry and his precocious 10-year-old daughter, Bella, bereft. Impatient with the slow-moving official investigation, Terry took out a private detective's license so he could catch Raymond Montgomery Weisz, the elusive suspect. One strand of this often violent story follows guilt-ridden, obsessive Terry's fruitless search for Weisz. Another concerns his inquiry into the murder of a livery cab driver. When a bomb explodes at a SoHo art gallery and severely injures the owner, Terry takes on that case, too. The investigations lead from an academically challenging private school for African-American children in Harlem to the bars and studios of cutting-edge artists in lower Manhattan. Fusilli is an imaginative, daring writer, creating a pulsating, nightmarish Manhattan where position and appearance are deceptive. Terry and Bella are a closely knit father and daughter rebuilding their lives while exorcising the tragedy in their past. Fusilli contrasts this loving relationship with the horrors of disintegrating families and child prostitution Terry uncovers elsewhere. The separate cases don't so much combine as collide after Terry makes a few intuitive leaps. Readers will anxiously await the sequel to this outstanding debut. (Sept. 10)Forecast: Robert B. Parker, Thomas Perry, Harlan Coben and Nevada Barr supply advance praise, but this first novel will appeal, strongly, to the same readership as that for Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Fusilli, a music critic for the Wall Street Journal, writes engagingly about the current New York music and art scene, while skewering the pretensions of fellow critics and artsy types. His comic criticisms of the current urban scene, spinning from a domestic story of a father and daughter making life work for each other, give the novel a Jane Austen-like feel. The hero (and, in this novel, the hero actually lives up to the standard of growth and change), Terry Orr, is trying to put together a life for himself and his pre-adolescent (and irritatingly brilliant) daughter after the murders of his wife and infant son. He's arbitrarily plunged into an investigation when, within days, he stumbles on the body of a cab driver and then witnesses an explosion at a SoHo art gallery. The mystery here is secondary to the urban landscape and the compelling drama of a man working toward the light. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; 1St Edition edition (October 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425187128
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425187128
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 0.9 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,710,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
An incredible portrait of contemporary Manhattan is the setting for this modern Noir debut. The novel's New York atmosphere -- reeking, overwhelming, charming, quaint and foul -- makes an unforgettable location for a thriller. Jim Fusilli's got New York down. Following Terry Orr from the book's opening death scene as a cabdriver is found slain in the city's downtown meatpacking district, a reader feels compelled to stop, look around and sniff. You're in New York and Fusilli's New York grabs you and forces you to pay attention.
Terry is a man haunted by an act of violence that took his wife and infant son. She was a beautiful, Italian artist and with her passing, Terry pours his love into his twelve-year-old daughter Bella. They do cool father-daughter things like go to rock concerts and gallery openings. After the cabdriver's death, Terry finds himself witnessing other seemingly isolated events including an explosion at a gallery that once displayed his late wife's work. He's on his way, honing the PI trade that he's adopted to rid himself of his demons. Terry tends to leave Bella with her Nanny as he moves from one part of Manhattan to another, searching for the people he's lost, but the daughter who loves him may quite possibly be his best hope for survival.
The gritty pulse of the city comes alive with scene after scene like a pick-up basketball game in a downtown "cage" court where perspiration from buffed basketball bodies splashes off the page. Terry studied Turn of the Century New York at St. Johns University and we're with him as he admires a converted bank building in Harlem or the newel post of a Brownstone. With a keen eye, ear and nose for modern New York, Jim Fusilli is a new mystery writer to watch.
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Format: Hardcover
In reviews of his new book Fusilli has been compared with Robert Parker, Elmore Leonard and James Lee Burke, so he would not need me to defend him. But one of the reviews of Closing Time is so unfair that I just felt I had to speak my mind. This reviewer criticizes Fusilli's dialogue. I totally, totally disagree. I think it is so authentic. When Terry Orr is in a calm mood or when he is thinking about his wife he speaks like an educated man. When he loses his temper or is tired he talks like a street punk. (I think this would be a clue to his upbringing.) This is explained on the third page of the book. Also I love the music because Terry and his daughter can't even agree on that! (Terry 's music is sad. But Bella is trying to be happy. But why does she like old rock and roll?)
I encourage people to try this book. It's sad, or I would say melancholy but it feels just like real life. I would call it one of my favorite detective books, period. Fusilli is going places with this series!!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
One of the fun things about reviewing (and no, it's not the money) is finding new authors and series that one might not have known about otherwise. I was recently sent the forth book in this series, "Hard, Hard City" by Jim Fusilli for an upcoming review at another site. Having read and enjoyed "Hard, Hard City" so much, it seemed an excellent idea to look for the rest of the series. For once, my local library had them all.

The series opens with "Closing Time" and it is in this book we meet many of the principal characters. Terry Orr is mourning the violent passing of his wife Marina and their baby boy as well as dealing with thoughts of vengeance and retaliation against the man he believes is responsible. Since the police have been unable to help, Terry has put his successful writing career on the backburner and is aggressively learning how to be a private investigator. He believes by doing so he can achieve his goal of apprehending the man responsible for the virtual destruction of his family. Some would say he also put on the backburner his beautiful 12-year-old daughter, Gabriella (affectionately nicknamed "Bella"), but he would strongly disagree.

He would argue that he is dealing with things as best as he can. That is all he can do, day-to-day, as he adjusts but he sees Marina and the baby symbolically in everything around him. He certainly does when he sees Judith Henley Harper and their chance meeting on a New York City street is another dig into his soul. Harper used to be his wife's agent as Marina painted beautiful pictures that sold and sold very well. Thanks to her paintings and Terry's own book sales, money still isn't an issue in their home.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Not since I discovered Robert B. Parker, James Lee Burke and Elmore Leonard early in their careers as mystery writers have I felt such magic on the printed page from a new author of the genre. True, I have not indulged myself in the works of many practitioners of the genre who made their debuts over the last four decades, but this first novel of a magnificent writer, while perhaps equalled by others, cannot be topped. Normally earning his keep as a music critic, Jim Fusilli spent eight years writing Closing Time, which reportedly, was the last book published in New York before the onset of the Twin Towers War. He could have spent 18 years grappling with it, and the wait would have been worth it. Focusing on Terry Orr, deeply grieving the horrible murders of his wife and son in a New York subway station, the novel is a brilliantly written depiction of New York, and Orr's quest to learn the art of investigation in order to find the madman who committed the double murders that robbed him of all but his daughter, Bella.

The murder of a cabdriver and an explosion at an art gallery where his late wife's work was displayed turn him from point to point, from neighborhood to neighborhood. Orr, a writer by profession, uses his ingrained curiosity to link common themes in the two matters, as well as to begin, as best he can, to understand that which haunts him. There is darkness here, sadness here, taut, brilliant narrative, and wonderful dialogue, expansive,descriptive, serious, sometimes quirky. No scene, no event seems out of place.
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