by Alan Gold
Review by Beth Slater
Berkley Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 0425208567
Date: 02 January, 2007 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
This is Gold's second novel in his mystery series featuring Lou Tedesco, an investigative reporter in Portland, OR. Gold's works are based on true incidents. Lou is in a meeting with his partners asking for a reprieve from the investigative part of his duties when Roberta Geller walks into his office and asks for a meeting. Roberta is the daughter of Rabbi Robert Geller, who was tried for the murder of his wife but got a mistrial. Lou's reputation for impartiality and truth had preceded him, and Roberta had begged him to take the case of her mother's murder so that she could know, once and for all, who was responsible. Lou feels that despite his desire to get back to less stressful reporting, he must help Roberta if he can, but that she will have to deal with the information no matter what it revealed. Lou begins by reviewing the articles that covered the trial of the rabbi, and with trying to interview the rabbi and the witnesses involved. Between covering Lou Tedesco's investigative actions, the story comes from multiple points of view, taking the readers back in time to the life of Rabbi Geller as he grows and matures to present day. Huge assistance is given to Lou by a local big-wig, Woodrow Wilson Biggs, when Biggs asks Lou to "set the record straight" - tell the story of Biggs' life so that everyone can know the truth of the historical events that had surrounded him. Part of those events included Robert Geller's doings since opening his temple in Oregon. Biggs had been approached by a well-known businessman to keep an eye on Geller because Geller had a history of getting himself into difficult situations while trying to do the right thing, but Geller had never known of the lifetime of protection.
Lou shuttles around Oregon following leads and misdeeds for his research on Geller. He has no idea how dangerous the situation is until his car is blown up – right before he could get in it. Following that, he and Roberta are car-jacked and thrown in a van at gunpoint – until their captors disappear mysteriously. Realizing that there is much more to the story of the Geller murder, Lou struggles to disentangle the strings that comprise the story of this novel.
I enjoyed the plot of the novel, but I felt like I missed a lot of back story from not reading the first book. I was confused by the women surrounding Lou – I had to go back to figure out which was his partner, which was his girlfriend, and which was his receptionist. Too many names, not enough character development, in my opinion. I wouldn't consider this a cozy because the story has more depth to it than the average cozy, but there was not a lot of physical violence or gore. People who like the American social development of the 1960s and forward may also enjoy this.