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Winter and Night: A Bill Smith/Lydia Chin Novel (Bill Smith/Lydia Chin Novels) Mass Market Paperback – April 14, 2003
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Penzler Pick, January 2002: S.J. Rozan is an author whose reputation and prowess have been growing in tandem. A strong writer in the "newcomers to watch" category back when she published China Trade, her first novel featuring New York sleuths Bill Smith and Lydia Chin, she is now a real player on the scene, poised for bestsellerdom.
The story she tells here takes us out of the gritty five boroughs and onto the New Jersey Turnpike, where Smith's sister Helen lives, in a place called Warrenstown. But did we know Bill even had a sister? Over the course of seven books and several short stories, even Lydia Chin, his partner and best friend, hasn't known this. So what gives?
We learn about Helen Smith Russell through a totally unexpected phone call from a Midtown South police detective, answered by Bill in his Tribeca loft. It seems the cops have his nephew in custody, a 15-year-old runaway who is the son of the sister with whom Bill has not been in touch for 25 years.
Two mysteries are being set up here, but before Rozan is finished, more than even these two will have been followed to their tragic conclusions. Each of the sinister puzzles seems to circle back around to Gary, the frightened nephew, and also to that seemingly straight-arrow suburbia he's fleeing.
Warrenstown, New Jersey, is also where Scott, Gary's dad, grew up. The trouble is that Helen's husband is part of the problem, not the solution. And while Bill, Lydia, and young Gary are trying to expose to fresh air the secrets from the past that keep festering (and killing), the villains (those with a deep interest in preserving reputations, as well as the legendary local football team, at all costs) want nothing more than to stop them.
It may be unusual territory, but S.J. Rozan can now be listed alongside Harlan Coben and Janet Evanovich as writers helping to give New Jersey the right kind of bad name. --Otto Penzler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Despite the hype, this eighth novel featuring New York PIs Lydia Chin and Bill Smith from Shamus- and Anthony-award winner Rozan isn't quite up to her usual high standard. After 2001's Reflecting the Sky (which Chin narrated), it's Smith's turn to tell the story, which here concerns his teenage nephew, Gary Russell, the athlete son of his estranged sister Helen. When Gary is arrested for pick-pocketing in Manhattan, the boy asks for his uncle's help. Gary denies running away from his Warrenstown, N.J., home he was doing something important. Then the boy vanishes, drawing Smith and Chin into a nightmarish case in which a small town's obsession with its high school football team overwhelms standards of justice and morality. When a teenage girl who dated Gary and was selling drugs to her classmates dies mysteriously, the police suspect Gary. He's disappeared during Warrenstown's most important week, when the football team trains at an intensive sports camp culminating in a game that attracts college scouts. Then another teenager, a despised nonathlete, disappears. Two computer whizzes join the detectives in finding the answers to present crimes by solving an old murder. This disturbing, suspenseful, but often shrill and repetitive novel allows the author to reveal Smith's troubled childhood as he, with Chin's encouragement, begins to understand it. In showing how we set priorities that can create monsters, Rozan also points to deep flaws in our society. Agent, Steve Axelrod. (Feb. 25)Forecast: With a national author tour, an excerpt in the paperback edition of Reflecting the Sky (Jan.) and supportive blurbs from the likes of Robert Crais, Dennis Lehane, Linda Fairstein and Greg Rucka, this title should keep Rozan's momentum going.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Why? S J Rozan does a great job of writing in the first person, setting up the suspense elements, giving her characters different, believable voices. Her background as an architect shows up in some of the descriptions of buildings and neighborhoods, and adds a pleasant dimension.
Bill Smith, the main character, is a little assaultive, and you wonder how he gets away with it. And you probably won't much like the book if
you are rhapsodic about high school football, because it is treated very negatively here.
Briefly, Smith's nephew, whom he hasn't seen in years, turns up and disappears, and he finds other things while looking for him. And then he finds out more things, and so on and so forth. See for yourself, but don't expect a cozy..
The main character of Winter and Night is Bill Smith, Private Investigator. He is an annoyance to his fellow characters, especially to his brother-in-law who erupts with anger whenever their paths cross. Bill Smith insists upon answers to questions that cause unrest in the townsfolk. He invades the privacy of the "who's who" of suburbia and ignores their demands for submission. He defies boundaries of banishment and mocks angry threats of incarceration or death Bill responds to physical bullying with his fists and dodges bullets to protect his nephew. He exposes hypocrisy, drug abuse, and the false values of the town. Bill is the self-effacing hero of the story, a seeker of truth and justice.
It is about a good teenager boy who runs away from home on a mysterious quest. There is a lot of detail on how he was tracked. The story is fairly interesting, but not earth shattering in it's interest. It is not a bad time spender. The title itself is mysterious and gives no clue as to the content of the story.