From Publishers Weekly
Three grisly deaths kick off Simon's fiction debut, a stylish noir thriller set in Austin, Tex., in 1988. A prostitute named Nikki, well past her glorious prime, is suffocated; politically active college student Rick Schate is crushed by a city bus; and stand-up cop Joey Velez dies in the line of duty. This last death is most significant to volatile protagonist Dan Reles, homicide detective and Joey Velez's best friend and partner. Reles went into an alcoholic tailspin after Joey's death, which led to suspension and then probation. Now someone is sending parts of Nikki's body (she's nicknamed Dirty Sally by police) to prominent local citizens, and the Schate fatality looks increasingly suspicious. Reles hopes to climb out of ignominy by cracking these two cases. Unfortunately, Sally's not the only dirty one: some of Reles's cop colleagues are crooked. Though the novel is anchored in Reles's brooding, yearning narrative, Simon challenges the reader with myriad sharp asides that seem unrelated but ultimately fit neatly together. Watching them fall into place is one of the chief pleasures of the book, along with Simon's lean sensual prose. This is a great read and promising series kickoff.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Austin, Texas, 1988: homicide detective Dan Reles is grieving his dead partner, lusting after the partner's wife, and maintaining a tenuous hold on his temper and his job. Scouring the scene of an apparent traffic accident, he stumbles on a badly mutilated woman's body. All the identifying parts are missing, and when the killer starts delivering neatly packaged slices to local notables, the pressure is on Reles to find what the deliveryman wants. This is gripping, brutal stuff, with a freight-train plot that roars to a jump-the-tracks ending. If there is a slightly tired cop-needing-redemption strain, it's more than redeemed by the setting and themes. A New York Jew, Reles is an outsider in good-ol'-boy country, and he's also an angry observer of a city reeling from a crack epidemic, an oil bust, and the stock-market crash. Towering above the mess is a would-be president who wants public institutions to start making a profit for him and his pals. There's an echo of L.A. Quartet-era Ellroy in Simon's debut, and it's a welcome sound. Keir GraffCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved