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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Peter Spiegelman -- whose breakthrough debut novel, Black Maps, featuring emotionally damaged detective John Marsh, won the 2004 Shamus Award for Best First Novel -- is back with another mystery/thriller starring the grief- and guilt-stricken private investigator.
In Death's Little Helpers, March -- still recovering from the tragic murder of his wife and the unraveling of his career as a New York cop four years earlier -- is beginning to finally put the past behind him. His tenuous relationship with neighbor Jane Lu (a beautiful and brilliant "über-consultant") is beginning to look promising, as is his private investigating career. His newest job is for Nina Sachs, an ill-tempered artist looking for her ex-husband, Gregory Danes, a prominent Wall Street analyst whose reputation was recently trashed after a series of highly publicized blunders. In search of overdue child support, March sets out to find the wayward wunderkind, only to find friends, family members, and co-workers who couldn't care less if Danes is dead or alive...
Speigelman's John March saga is so much more than a contemporary detective serial -- the novels have carefully considered, cunningly complex plotlines featuring realistic, urbane characters with authentic flaws, problems, and aspirations. Laden throughout with dark, atmospheric symbolism, even the novel's titles are multi-layered, both named after poems ("Black Maps" by Mark Strand and "Death's Little Helper" by Charles Simic). An enticing blend of hard-boiled private eye novel and contemporary financial suspense story, Death's Little Helpers is an intellectual thriller of the highest order that should be absolutely savored, page by delectable page. Paul Goat Allen