Tin Badges

Mysterious Book Report No. 407

by John Dwaine McKenna

Some writers are gifted with an awesome ability that allows them to paint pictures with words which are so graphic that the characters and places become real in the reader’s mind, making it seem like they really exist in the here and now.  Lorenzo Carcaterra is one of them.  His latest, Tin Badges, (Ballantine Books, $28.00, 278 pages, ISBN 978-0-345-48392-8) has such apt descriptions of the people and places in lower Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, that you’ll feel like you’re sitting on the front steps of the four story brownstone he calls home, drinking Starbuck’s coffee with Rizzo and Chief Connors.

Thomas “Tank” Rizzo is a Tin Badge, otherwise known as a retired cop who’s helping the chief try to clear up some of the cold case files that the regular detectives don’t have time for.

In the current case, Tank and his crew of misfits, including his wheelchair-bound ex-partner named Pearl, are tasked with the unenviable job of finding out who broke into the apartments of two women who were raped, beaten mercilessly and robbed.  Trouble is, they’re a pair of working girls, otherwise known as ladies of the night, or soiled doves.  The first investigators didn’t spend much time and even less energy on the case, erroneously assuming that because they were prostitutes, the women didn’t matter, and  had little or no truth to their claims.  But when Tank and his crew dig a little deeper, they find that the pair were living in a stash house belonging to a major drug lord named Gonzo.  And Gonzo is a man who’ll do anything to protect his empire.

Then, as if that’s not enough to deal with, just as the all-out war with the narco king is boiling up, Tank gets word that his brother and sister-in-law have been killed in a car wreck.  By mutual agreement, Tank and his brother haven’t spoken for many years.  It doesn’t matter though . . . their only son, Chris, an angry sixteen year-old . . . is coming to live with Tank, who’s been a lifelong bachelor, in this gritty and electrifying hard-boiled yarn that’s a perfect escape from the Chinese Corona virus and a great summer read!

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