a parent ever get over the loss of a child? Ex-cop Gus Murphy is still
struggling, two years after his son's sudden death. When approached by
another grieving father to help solve a murder, will Murphy be able to
rise from his despair?
Some people swallow their grief. Some let it swallow them. I guess there're about a thousand degrees in between those extremes. Maybe a million. Maybe a million million. Who the fuck knows? Not me. I don't. I'm just about able to put one foot before the other, to breathe again. But not always, not even most of the time. Annie, my wife, I mean, my ex-wife, she let it swallow her whole, and when it spit her back up, she was someone else, something else: a hornet from a butterfly. If I was on the outside looking in and not the central target of her fury and sting, I might understand it. I might forgive it. I tell myself I would. But I'd have to forgive myself first. I might as well wish for Jesus to reveal himself in my sideview mirror or for John Jr. to come back to us. At the moment my wishes were less ambitious ones. I wished for the 11:38 to Ronkonkoma to be on time. I should have wished for it be early.—Where It Hurts by Reed Farrel Coleman (Putnam, 2016, p. 1; uncorrected egalley)
- Setting: modern times, Long Island
- Circumstances: Grieving ex-cop Gus Murphy is asked by grieving petty criminal Tommy Delcamino to find the people who murdered his son, TJ. Although initially reluctant, Gus decides to look into it. He is pulled into the underworld of drugs, wannabe mobsters, and more murder, all the while still trying to understand the death of his own son and the dissolution of his family and faith.
- Genre: mystery, thriller, suspense
- Themes: grief, fatherhood, depression, faith/religion, socioeconomic commentary, family
- Characters: Gus Murphy, an ex-cop who know works for a mid-level hotel; Annie, his ex-wife; Kristen, his out-of-control daughter; Tommy Delcamino, ex-con who lost his son; TJ, Tommy's son, the first murder victim; Father Bill Kikenny, police chaplain; various cops from the Suffolk County police force; various drug lords, mobsters, and other bad guys
- What I think so far: I love the noir feel to the story. Although the themes of depression and the death of a son could weigh the book down, they instead make Gus an interesting person: Will he start to see more light or will he fall deeper into the depths? In addition, there are enough small moments of humor (the kind that makes you chuckle or smile) to offset the heaviness. All the characters I've met seem real and easy to envision. The plot is just being set up, but I'm anticipating a great read.
- A few of extras: This book is the start of a new series, so there's no backstory to catch up on. Where It Hurts has already earned a couple of starred reviews. Coleman was picked by the Robert B. Parker estate to continue the Jesse Stone books.
- Recommendations: For lovers of dark suspense and contemporary mysteries.