Friday, May 30, 2014

FFB: Rookie Blues: The Nick Train Stories -- Richard A. Lupoff

This book is only a couple of years old, but I think it qualifies.  I see only one copy available from Internet sellers, so it seems to have slipped down the memory hole.  That's too bad, since it has a lot to offer.

Start with the subtitle.  It's a collection, but it's not a short-story collection, exactly.  It's a novel, followed by the three previously published stories about Nick Train.  The works appear in chronological order, not the order of publication.  The novel, the most recently written piece, takes place in 1938.  The final story, "The Laddie in the Lake," was the first one written, but the setting is 1946.

In Rookie Blues, Train is a rookie NYC cop.  He'd been a professional boxer, but not a very successful one, so when a friend suggests he apply for a job with the police, Train gives it a shot.  To his surprise, he's hired.  Almost immediately things get complicated.  His beat partner's on the take, which is bad enough, but then the partner is killed.  Then his best friend, also a cop, is murdered.  And then there are the personal problems. Train is falling for a Chinese woman. His father dies.  And then . . . .  Things aren't what they seem, and Train doesn't know whom to trust.  

It's all put together in a smoothly written package with some keen observations of time and place along with the plotting, and the short stories are all very good, as well.  Here's hoping some small press will bring this one back so it can find the readers it deserves.


Anonymous said...

Now that is what a "forgotten book" should be, something I never heard of before. Sounds good.


Unknown said...

Yeah, this one sort of disappeared almost before it was release.

Rick Robinson said...

Maybe it's forgotten so quickly for a reason. Lupoff's writing has just never clicked with me, despite several tries in more than one genre.

Todd Mason said...

Another I need to pick up.

Unknown said...

I didn't locate any on the 'Net, but Dick has some extra copies. He'll probably be happy to send you one.