The Graving Dock (Jack Leightner Series #2)
  • The Graving Dock (Jack Leightner Series #2)
  • The Graving Dock (Jack Leightner Series #2)

The Graving Dock (Jack Leightner Series #2)

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by Gabriel Cohen

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In the chill of winter, a homemade coffin drifts ashore in New York Harbor, containing the body of a boy with the letters “G.I.” written on his forehead. As a detective with Brooklyn South Homicide, Jack Leightner finds that corpses are a part of every working day. But today his attention is riveted on a

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In the chill of winter, a homemade coffin drifts ashore in New York Harbor, containing the body of a boy with the letters “G.I.” written on his forehead. As a detective with Brooklyn South Homicide, Jack Leightner finds that corpses are a part of every working day. But today his attention is riveted on a considerably smaller box, containing an engagement ring for his girlfriend Michelle.…

In his second mystery featuring Detective Jack Leightner, Edgar Award—nominated author Gabriel Cohen vividly captures New York’s most fascinating borough.

The relatively gentle treatment of the victim in Jack’s new case leads him to believe that the boy may have been subject to a strange type of mercy killing. But when a new body appears, it’s clear that no mercy was involved.

Meanwhile, Jack can’t figure out his new partner, Tommy Balfa. The man seems fixated on some mysterious trouble of his own, leaving Jack to find out why the unknown boy was sent adrift. Eventually, Jack is forced to take on a second, unofficial investigation into his own partner’s shady activities. And both cases keep interfering with his attempts to propose to his girlfriend. As all three plots thicken, Jack’s pursuit of the killer takes him on a whirlwind tour of hidden parts of New York Harbor, from the secret world of Governors Island to the dilapidated shipyards of the old Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Red Hook, Cohen’s debut, was called “outstanding” (The New York Times), “accomplished” (Publishers Weekly), and “compelling” (Booklist). The Graving Dock, the eagerly awaited sequel, is a triumph, even richer in atmosphere, action, and the mysteries of the human heart.

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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.

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Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Jack Leightner Series, #2
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
6.19(w) x 8.08(h) x 1.11(d)

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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 green torch. 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.

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Meet the Author

Gabriel Cohen’s previous Jack Leightner novel, Red Hook, was nominated for the Edgar Award for Best First Novel. He has written for The New York Times and Time Out New York, and taught writing at New York University. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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The Graving Dock (Jack Leightner Series #2) 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
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