- Paperback: 182 pages
- Publisher: Severn House Publishers (February 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1847510655
- ISBN-13: 978-1847510655
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,533,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Monkey in the Middle Paperback – February 1, 2009
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About the Author
About the Reader
Jason Culp has been featured on the soap operas ""General Hospital, ""Days of Our Lives, and ""Another World, and appeared in the film ""Skinheads.
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The novel follows three separate threads; Carter, Epstein and Paulie Margarine. Carter plots more murders. Epstein seeks info from his snitches on the street. Paulie is contacted by a mysterious man named Thorpe who claims to be behind the killings.
MONKEY IN THE MIDDLE is very noir. Informants and double crossers fill the gritty streets. All the well-drawn main characters have a dark side. And, in contrast, the hitman Carter dutifully visits his terminally ill sister in the hospital. Epstein frets over his very pregnant wife. The book is compact but with a convoluted plot. Typically noir, nobody is what they seem to be, but at one point I was totally confused by the appearance of one character and I had to go back and reread some parts to explain where he came from. Never got a satisfactory answer.
The ending is typical noir. Nobody wins.
I’m not a big fan of bleak noir, but this one held my interest to the conclusion.
Solly Epstein, lieutenant in the NY Organized Crime Control Bureau, is assigned to the investigation of the murders, and the assumption in the NYPD is that there is a gang war about to erupt in the city. But the explanation is not quite that simple. The action takes place in the days leading up to Christmas, when the city is at its most sparkling. Solly needs to close this case quickly: His wife, Sofia, is due to give birth to their first child any day, now two weeks past her due date, and he has promised to make that his priority, that "the minute you go into labor, I'm outta here."
The plot continues in engrossing fashion until suddenly there is a totally unexpected left turn midway through, and it just keeps getting better. I particularly enjoyed Mr. Solomita's descriptive abilities and prose. Speaking of Carter, he writes: "In the course of his short life, he's witnessed unspeakable savagery without flinching. Worse, he's committed acts so awful that he thinks himself past even the hope of redemption. But for all the blood, Carter has never willingly surrendered his dignity." And he has a somewhat anomalous sentiment against collateral damage.
I hadn't read a new novel from this author in several years, and was very happy to have discovered this one - hopefully, there are more to come, as this was a welcome return indeed.