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The Graving Dock

The Graving Dock

3.5 2
by Gabriel Cohen

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A floating coffin draws Brooklyn homicide detective Jack Leightner into a murder investigation in hidden parts of New York Harbor and the old Brooklyn Navy Yard in this second novel in Edgar Award finalist Gabriel Cohen’s acclaimed crime series.
At a bed and breakfast in upstate New York, Brooklyn homicide detective Jack Leightner is doing his best to


A floating coffin draws Brooklyn homicide detective Jack Leightner into a murder investigation in hidden parts of New York Harbor and the old Brooklyn Navy Yard in this second novel in Edgar Award finalist Gabriel Cohen’s acclaimed crime series.
At a bed and breakfast in upstate New York, Brooklyn homicide detective Jack Leightner is doing his best to propose to his girlfriend. When the hotel staff loses the engagement ring, romance is put on hold and Leightner returns to Brooklyn to tangle once more with death. A boy has been found floating by the Red Hook pier in a handmade coffin that suggests a burial at sea. But when a second victim turns up, Leightner senses a vile pattern.
The last time he worked Red Hook, the old waterfront was a ghost town. Now, gentrification is reshaping the quiet cobblestoned streets, with big-box stores and condos being built where longshoremen once lived, worked, loved, and died. But even in this shiny new Brooklyn, Leightner knows, there are corners where darkness reigns.

The Graving Dock is the 2nd book in the Jack Leightner Crime Novels, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order. 

Editorial Reviews

Richard Lipez
…this dark, lustrous police procedural…fairly oozes Brooklyn cop lore…At a time when some of the older masterful cop writers, like Ed McBain, are dying or just fading away, Cohen's appearance comes as a relief and pleasure.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Death and recovery consume Det. Jack Leightner in his second appearance and validate the praise Cohen received for Red Hook(2001). Winter is settling over New York harbor and a small coffin containing the body of a boy floats off a Red Hook pier. The box was assembled without nails and the corpse treated carefully. But by whom? Jack is temporarily assigned to his old Brooklyn neighborhood, once the hub of a thriving shipping industry, now decrepit but on the brink of gentrification. Tommy Balfa, the other officer on the case, leaves Jack alone except for favors he can call in. Oddly, Jack welcomes this challenge as a distraction from personal problems such as his repeated failure to propose to his magnificent girlfriend, even though working in Red Hook brings up his guilt over his brother's death when they were kids on the streets. Cohen offers not just a mystery but a satisfying elegy for vanished ways of life. (Nov.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
A grim child murder, a crooked partner, a skittish fiancee: Detective Jack Leightner (Red Hook, 2001) is getting too old for this. While two fisherman are pulling a small coffin out of the water in Red Hook, veteran Brooklyn homicide detective Leightner steels himself to propose to his girlfriend Michelle over a romantic dinner. As Michelle inadvertently eats the chocolate mousse that contains her hidden engagement ring, Jack stays mum. The found coffin, meanwhile, contains the body of a young boy, with no identification except the initials G.I. written on his forehead. Jack catches the case and Tommy Balfa, a new partner. Other easily solved murders demand Jack's attention, but the G.I. case remains a priority. You wouldn't know it, though, by Balfa's behavior. He seems secretive and disinterested to the point of laziness. Nevertheless, they find another victim, a security guard, with the same G.I. message. One day Jack tails Balfa and catches him red-handed with a trunk full of money. He also tracks down the married Balfa's girlfriend, young nurse Maureen Duffy, who may not be as innocent as she seems. When, after more aborted attempts, Jack works up the nerve to propose to Michelle again, she cries, confesses that she's been seeing somebody else and runs away. Cohen's second procedural believably captures the rhythms and interactions of a busy urban precinct. Everyman Jack, struggling to do the right thing, merits devotion.

Product Details

Open Road Media Mystery & Thriller
Publication date:
Jack Leightner Crime Novels , #2
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
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File size:
990 KB

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
Out on the cold, blustery end of a Brooklyn pier, Herman Rios and Angel Oviedo had just caught a flounder when death literally drifted into their lives. 
 “What the hell is that?” said Herman as his friend reeled in the unhappy fish. Prior to this moment, they had never seen one of the bottom-dwelling creatures in its natural state.
Angel stared at the fish, which had both eyes on one side of its flat body. He dropped it on the concrete and backed away fast.
“Throw it back,” urged Herman. “That bastit must’ve grew up near a nuclear power plant.”
“Least I caught something,” Angel said, glancing at his friend’s empty bucket.
Herman shrugged. He bent down and rummaged through his tackle box until he found a new lure. The guy at the bait shop had sworn by it: The head was lead and the body was comprised of four little pieces of surgical tubing.
Angel stared out at where his line led down into the gray-green water. He was hoping for a few stripers, which were supposed to run well in the cold weather. After a while he grew tired of watching the filament and his gaze traveled beyond the sheltered cove. Red Hook was a humble neighborhood of warehouses and machine shops, but the waterfront offered a spectacular view of New York Harbor lying under a vast cloud-dappled plain of sky. Across the south stretched the spare, simple span of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. To the southwest, across the gleaming harbor, lay the wooded shoreline of Staten Island. The Statue of Liberty stood in the middle of the harbor; she seemed so close Angel almost believed he could chuck a rock and hit her greentorch. Some anonymous island covered with low brick buildings sat in the water farther north, and then the view was dominated by the southern skyline of Manhattan, bold glass buildings reflecting back the morning sun. There was a huge recent hole there, but Angel preferred not to think about it.
He glanced at his line again—still quiet—and then something moving in along the edge of the cove caught his eye.
“You see that?” he asked his friend. “What you think that is?”
Herman squinted at an object bobbing along in the bright choppy water. His eyes grew big.
“It looks like some kind of cwawfin.”
Indeed it was, a homemade wooden box just four and a half feet long.  Copyright © 2007 by Gabriel Cohen. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

Gabriel Cohen’s debut novel, Red Hook, was nominated for the Edgar Award for Best First Novel. He wrote three more mystery novels featuring Brooklyn South Homicide Task Force detective Jack Leightner: The Graving Dock, Neptune Avenue, and The Ninth Step. He is also the author of Boombox, a novel, and Storms Can’t Hurt the Sky: A Buddhist Path Through Divorce. He teaches in the writing program at Pratt Institute and loves living in Brooklyn, whose spirited, incredibly diverse neighborhoods provide him with a limitless source of vivid material. His website is www.gabrielcohenbooks.com.

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The Graving Dock (Jack Leightner Series #2) 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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