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Not Quite Kosher: An Abe Lieberman Mystery Hardcover – December 1, 2002

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; First Edition edition (December 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312874537
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312874537
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,780,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Chicago policeman Abe Lieberman, beleaguered friend and family man, is vexed with enough tsuris to put him off his blintz- and bagel-impoverished diet. For one thing, there's the confession of a murder that didn't happen made by a man who thinks he's talking to a rabbi when he makes it. Then there's a gang of delinquents who might be responsible for the deaths of a couple of floaters that turn up in Abe's territory. And if that's not enough, Abe's partner, an Irishman engaged to a Chinese woman who's the object of an Asian crime boss's affection, wants him to be best man at his wedding. Throw in a grandson's bar mitzvah that threatens to bankrupt him and an unruly synagogue board, and you've got the ingredients of a typical, warmhearted cozy that won't raise your bubbe's blood pressure but is nonetheless a likable diversion. --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

You can always expect a witty, entertaining read from prolific Edgar-winner Kaminsky, and he delivers the goods in this seventh Lieberman novel (after 2000's The Big Silence). Abe Lieberman, the tolerant, justice-seeking Chicago homicide detective, needs the skills of a contortionist to manage all the crises in his life: two murder cases, his long-time partner Bill Hanrahan's impulsive decision to marry his sweetheart, Iris Chen, immediately (reception chez Lieberman), pressures from his synagogue fund-raising committee and preparations for his grandson's bar mitzvah, which Lieberman must bankroll. Meanwhile, his cholesterol is up and the roof needs repairs. With the skill of a master juggler, the author keeps all the parts of his story moving, alternating Lieberman's personal problems with the search for two inept hold-up men, one the accidental killer of forlorn merchant Arnold Sokol. Kaminsky traces the circuitous but inevitable downfall of Michael Wychovski, the smarter of the two thieves, as he tries to evade his pursuers after the death of Pryor, a dumbbell sidekick who might have stepped out of a Donald Westlake or Elmore Leonard novel. The cases collide when Pryor's body washes up on the shores of Lake Michigan next to Sokol's. Although Kaminsky can plot with the best of them, his characters are the real delights of the book, as is the comfortable, symbiotic relationship between Hanrahan and Lieberman. Rostnikov and Lew Fonseca series.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Harnett VINE VOICE on January 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
From its jarring opening at the scene of a robbery gone bad to the sad, clever twist at the end, Edgar-winner Kaminsky keeps the reader hooked with wry characterizations, dilemma-fed action and a well-organized plot. A man of earthy decency with a face like an old bloodhound and a quiet persistence to match, Chicago detective Abe Lieberman manages to stint neither his family nor his job as he starts his day with the confession of a would-be killer and moves on into the week with two murders to solve and a bar-mitzvah and a roof to pay for while his Irish partner, Bill Hanrahan, defies a Chinese tong leader to marry the woman he loves. Point of view shifts among the very bad day of a jewel thief on the run, Hanrahan, some middle-class punk kids mixed up in murder and Lieberman himself. An insomniac with high cholesterol and a love of good Jewish food, Lieberman maintains his good humored resignation to the things he cannot change while occasionally dispensing his own generous justice.
Kaminsky's deadpan rythmn is reminiscent of Ed McBain's 87th Precinct novels, while his dark humor, morally centered plots, economical, observant prose and dogged, amiable hero set the series apart.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Grey Wolffe VINE VOICE on October 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Once again we get involved more with the personal lives of the Rabbi (Abe Lieberman) and Father Murphy (Bill Hanrahan). Abe is busy worrying about his cholesterol (and the diet that Bess has him on) and the cost of the Bar Mitzvah of his grandson Barry. Bill is getting ready to marry Iris even though both her father and the local chinese mafia don (Mr. Woo) would rather they waited.

The series is starting to show Kaminsky's lack of concentration when he finds he has to repeat some stories in every book whether it has to do with Hanrahan's drink and divorce or Abe's daughter's problems with her ex or her children. The books are down to the level of two hour telemovies on Lifetime.

The quality of the stories and the involvements of the mysteries or police procedures are on the level of CSI, which is another series he is working on but without the glamour. He has mentioned mulitple times, in the last two books, how tired Abe is because of his insomnia...but it seems that Kaminsky is writing these books in his sleep. He would be better off letting Abe retire and resurrect the Rostnikov series with Porfiry's son (Josef) and his girlfriend (Elena Timofeyeva).
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This is one of the best of the Abe Lieberman mysteries. The plot is complex but it is not difficult to follow. The novel opens with a 20+ pp. heist scene in which two criminals return to the scene of an earlier stick-up: a strip mall jewelry store. This ‘anniversary’ heist leads to a succession of actions which wend their way through the course of the novel. Hanrahan is attempting to hurry up his marriage to Iris (despite his promise to Woo to wait a year); Abe is planning his grandson’s bar mitzvah; Abe and Bess’s house needs a new roof; some punks are putatively involved in the murder of a small businessman who is (again, putatively) in hock to a loan shark to the tune of $40K. And Abe is still worrying about his cholesterol and about the temple’s request that he call Senator Joe Lieberman and ask him to come to Chicago for a temple fundraiser. This is further complicated by the fact that both Abe and his partner Bill Hanrahan are libertarians.

We visit Maish’s deli, hear a word or two from the Alter Cockers, see El Perro in action and, in general, hit all of the notes associated with the Abe Lieberman series. The heist characters are straight out of Elmore Leonard’s best playbook and we get to visit some interesting locales and neighborhoods in the windy city. The cameo appearance by Senator Joe Lieberman is fun and we are there (Spoiler) for Hanrahan’s wedding to Iris, complete with last-minute presents from Mr. Woo and El Perro.

While this book comes in the late/middle of the series it can be read as an independent novel. Those coming to the series for the first time will wish to return again and again. The series demonstrates the manner in which the personal lives of the ensemble cast can blend with crime stories in a very satisfying manner.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The series about veteran Chicago cop Abe Lieberman is the least known of the at least four mystery series being written by the prolific and consistent Mr Kaminsky and this is a pity for they are always diverting and at times touch deeper wells than is often the case with the genre .I suspect there is much of the author in the Lieberman figure -Abe is a well wrought character whose job has exposed him to the seamier side of life in general and Chicago in particular but has not eroded his compassion and sympathy for the victims ,who often include his fellow law enforecement professionals .
Here Abe is working on two cases -a robbery of a jewellery store and the death of its proprietor during the hold up ; and the murder of a Arnold Sokol which may well be gang related .These crimes in turn lead on to other deaths
The criminals are accorded almost as much time as the cops and the portrait of the robber Wychovski in particular is a mini-masterpiece of economicallly but crisply drawen characterisation while the ethnic divisions of the city are unfussily and powerfully established
Abe is a family man and time devoted to this aspect of his situation is for me a partial problem as I struggled with some of the Jewish background to the discussions but its a minor problem (others will not see it as such )
Compassionate , humane and a quick read which unlike many such does not insult the intelligence or detarct from its having some sharp points to make
To those new to the series I suggest starting with an earlier title , maybe Lieberman's Choice
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More About the Author

Stuart M. Kaminsky (1934-2009) was one of the most prolific crime fiction authors of the last four decades. Born in Chicago, he spent his youth immersed in pulp fiction and classic cinema--two forms of popular entertainment which he would make his life's work. After college and a stint in the army, Kaminsky wrote film criticism and biographies of the great actors and directors of Hollywood's Golden Age. In 1977, when a planned biography of Charlton Heston fell through, Kaminsky wrote Bullet for a Star, his first Toby Peters novel, beginning a fiction career that would last the rest of his life.

Kaminsky penned twenty-four novels starring the detective, whom he described as "the anti-Philip Marlowe." In 1981's Death of a Dissident, Kaminsky debuted Moscow police detective Porfiry Rostnikov, whose stories were praised for their accurate depiction of Soviet life. His other two series starred Abe Lieberman, a hardened Chicago cop, and Lew Fonseca, a process server. In all, Kaminsky wrote more than sixty novels. He died in St. Louis in 2009.