Book Review - Jackie K Cooper
WHERE IT HURTS by Reed Farrell Coleman
If you are a fan of novels by Karen Slaughter, Harlan Cohen and especially Michael Connelly then I want to recommend an author you have perhaps not yet discovered. His name is Reed Farrell Coleman and his latest novel is WHERE IT HURTS. Coleman writes with words that form a rough beauty to his characters and locales. His main character, Gus Murphy, is a man damaged by the world and his heartaches become your heartaches as you read this story.
Murphy is a man who lost his son to a death he doesn't understand. To him it was a death without reason and it took with it his faith, his family and the foundation of his life. He has become a man who stumbles through life looking neither right nor left, ahead nor back. All of the flavor of life has been erased with only monotony being a consistent state.
That is until a man named Tommy Delcamino comes to him and asks for a favor. Tommy is a small time crook who had contact with Murphy when he was a Suffolk County Police Detective. Delcamino's son has been brutally murdered and Tommy can't get the police to act on it. So he has come to Gus for help.
Gus sends him on his way because he has not interest in helping anyone. Plus Tommy's plea for help due to the death of his son, creates feelings in Gus he does not want to feel. When he learns a few days later that Tommy has also been killed it spurs Gus into action. He begins slowly to reenter society and to at least partially reclaim the life that was his.
Just about everything in Gus's life is dark and cold. This includes his habitat as it is the dead of winter in Suffolk County, New York and this means frigid weather most of the time. It also describes his relationship with his ex-wife and daughter and the people with whom he used to work. Still his heart begins to thaw bit by bit as he immerses himself in the investigations of the Delcamino father and son deaths.
Coleman is a genius at describing Murphy's state of mind. He describes the melancholia and depression that haunt his nights and his days. We learn of his vulnerabilities and rejoice at each step forward he takes. Helping him move forward are an ex-priest named Bill and a mystery man named Slava who becomes a partner of sorts to him.
Coleman lays out the step by step, day by day solving of the mystery. It is a fascinating approach and fits the mood of the story. Each day Coleman discovers new pieces of evidence, and each day Murphy makes one step forward into the world he left behind. It makes for fascinating reading and will richly entertain you. Mark down the name, Reed Farrell Coleman. You are going to hear more and more about him as the word gets out of what a refreshing talent he is.
WHERE IT HURTS is published by Putnam. It contains 353 pages and sells for $27.00.
Jackie K Cooper