by K.C. Constantine
- reviewed by Scott Butki
Rocksburg, Pa. Detective Officer Rugs Carlucci has
two problems one of which is much more difficult emotionally.
The first fits into his traditional job - help determine
who killed a local steel magnate. This work is relatively easy.
But it's the second problem - dealing with his mother
as she begins to lose sense of reality - which is much more interesting.
Near the beginning of the latest, great novel by K.
C. Constantine, Carlucci's mom belts him in the mouth. As a result
throughout the novel, as he works to solve the crime, he has to
deal with the snickers and jokes of his colleagues about what happened.
And he has to confront some difficult questions - is it time to
send her to a nursing home, even though she objects?
Some of the more poignant moments in the book come
as he faces up to the fact that here he is, a 45-year-old officer
still leaving with his mother and unable to completely express his
feelings towards a local female friend.
Constantine's books are mostly dialogue with very
little description. The result is a fast read, sure, but the dialogue
seems so real, so authentic, that you sometimes read a passage twice,
the second time for enjoyment.
Here's a sample quote:
"I've heard everything there is to hear. You know, there are
only so many words in the language that people call profanity.
And once you hear them on a regular basis as part of your job,
I mean, they're just punctuation, that's all. Just pauses and
punctuation, that's all they are. Just like people who can't get
through a sentence without saying 'you know' or 'like'? Well there
are people who can't get through a sentence withou 'fuckin'' this
or 'motherfuckin; that. You're looking at me, funny, I'm telling
you the truth."
I won't tell you what Carlucci decides but if you
like police stories and interesting characters this is a book you
should definitely pick up and read. Constantine isn't as well known
as some crime writers but with works like this that should change
Butki is a prolific reader and writer, living in Hagerstown,
Md. He welcomes your comments on this review.