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In A Killer’s Essence, already optioned for the movies, Zeltserman's unique talent (“deserves comparison with the best of James Ellroy” –Publishers Weekly) is back with full, sinister effect. Stan Green is a jaded New York City cop assigned to the most shocking homicide of his career–and he finds only one witness, a neurologically damaged recluse subject to demonic hallucinations. Then the murderer strikes again. Stan’s best hope is a man who claims to be surrounded by ghoulish apparitions. And there’s just a ...
In A Killer’s Essence, already optioned for the movies, Zeltserman's unique talent (“deserves comparison with the best of James Ellroy” –Publishers Weekly) is back with full, sinister effect. Stan Green is a jaded New York City cop assigned to the most shocking homicide of his career–and he finds only one witness, a neurologically damaged recluse subject to demonic hallucinations. Then the murderer strikes again. Stan’s best hope is a man who claims to be surrounded by ghoulish apparitions. And there’s just a chance this witness isn't insane, but instead terrifyingly perceptive…
Dave Zeltserman's grisly crime novel is backgrounded by the 2004 ALCS playoffs, when the Red Sox triumphed over the Yankees. A knuckle-whitening, surprising, and compelling trip into Stan’s obsession with a brutal case, this serial-killer mystery is Zeltserman's darkest, most gripping work yet.
"Few writers are Zeltserman's equal in setting up the chessboard with obsessive perps and depressive cops . . . Zeltserman's lean but muscular style, so evident in [A Killer's Essence] and The Caretaker of Lorne Field, is just as sharply honed here. His ability to juggle Green's story and Lynch's, develop a riveting murder mystery, and even mix in some Brighton Beach ex-KGB sleazeballs, all in less than 250 pages, is a pretty neat page-turning trick . . . a memorable winner."
"This eerie thriller deftly blurs the lines between madness and the perception of reality."
An NYPD homicide cop who's seen it all finds a strange new way to see it all in Zeltserman's latest trip to the dark side (The Caretaker of Lorne Field, 2010, etc.).
Fifty-two-year-old Gail Laurent had led a blameless life. One might say she didn't have an enemy in the world. Not so. Shot multiple times and savagely treated thereafter, she is discarded, like a mutilated paperback, not far from the front door of a bookstore. Witnesses? Yes and no. Examining the tape from the store's surveillance camera, Detective Stan Green watches a man come into the frame, freeze, then register extreme horror. When questioned, however, Zachary Lynch swears he can't be helpful. He acknowledges that he may have actually witnessed the killing but insists there's no way he can identify the killer. In the meantime, Green's domestic life is no picnic either.There's the wear and tear of maintaining amicable relations with a spiteful ex-wife, matched by the strain of coping with a gorgeous, much younger girlfriend. And let's not forget the $3,000 he owes to absolutely the wrong people. On the job, it's now beyond question that the police have a vicious serial killer on their hands. Pressure mounts exponentially. NYPD brass wants the case cracked yesterday. Green thinks wistfully of other lines of work. And then suddenly, a long-dormant memory surges up from his unconscious to give a weirdly literal dimension to the phrase "soul-searching," and serve as a key to the puzzle.
Zeltserman's signature creepiness is available here and there, but what really drives this novel is the engaging portrait of an honest, hardworking cop who, on the job and off, gives the best he's got, knowing how rarely it will be enough.
Posted December 23, 2011
Two critics I trusted liked this book, and certainly it had some interesting aspects, like Zachary Lynch, who supposedly can read evil in people's faces. A book about Zachary would have been far more interesting -- or a book about the novelist-murderer who is just barely sketched. And the "serial killings" are dropped for most of the middle of the book and all you hear about is Stan Green (the protagonist cop) and baseball and his family problems. Stan was a nice enough guy, but he was not particularly interesting. This is a crime novel -- who cares about Stevie and Emma (his hostile kids) and Cheryl (his ex) and Bambi (his squeeze). And the mob subplot wasn't terribly interesting either. I was disappointed since the really intriguing things in this book were not developed while the dullest things were.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.