Saturday, June 28, 2008

Small Crimes -- Dave Zeltserman

Dave Zeltserman created a bit of buzz with his earlier books, and this might be the one to break him out of the pack. It's Jim Thompson for the new century.

Joe Denton is an ex-cop, leaving jail after seven years served for stabbing and disfiguring the local D.A., who's still around and looking for payback. Denton let cocaine, a gambling habit, and a talent for self-deception take him down a dark path. He tells himself that he's going to do better, but he finds that everything conspires against him. Or at least that's his take on it. A local crime boss is dying and seems to be on the verge of confessing. If he does, a lot of people will suffer, including Denton and the local sheriff, who must be a relative of Lou Ford. The sheriff gives Denton a choice: kill the crime boss or be killed himself.

Denton's downward spiral involves everyone around him: his parents, his ex-wife, his daughters, a nurse he meets in the hospital. Though Denton keeps pulling rabbits out of hats, you know things aren't going to end well, but Zeltserman comes up with a conclusion that's both stunning and surprising. Check it out.

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