As dark, malevolent and well plotted as anybody could wish
for, Reggie Nadelson’s new Artie Cohen novel, Fresh
Kills, is an intricate portrayal of the human psyche that
eventually takes a hold and refuses to let go.
With his wife Maxine out of town, Artie Cohen is alone in
Manhattan when his nephew Billy Farone is released for a
couple of weeks from the young offenders’ institution
where he has been since he stabbed Heshey Shank to death.
Artie is the one Billy wants to come home to, the only person
Billy cares about, the man Billy wants to be.
Now a handsome, intelligent and funny boy of fourteen, Billy
seems cured and free of whatever it was - sickness, evil
- that made him kill Shank. Artie wants desperately to believe
that Billy is OK. But from the moment a small plane crashes
on to the beach at Coney Island, bombs go off in London,
and New York is shaken out of the sense that the bad times
are over. There are signs that Heshey Shank's family want
Billy locked up for good and Billy's mother doesn't want
him coming home at all. Then bodies begin to appear and
Artie, up against a brick wall of his own hope and despair,
doesn't know what or whom to believe.
Perseverance is the key to this novel. After an initial
slow start in which the situation Artie and Billy find themselves
is explained to the max, the plot kicks in with monumental
gusto that will keep the reader enthralled.
Tight dialogue, distinctive descriptions and an atmosphere
as dark as a cellar, this is a novel that is both as moving
as it is unsettling in as much as it makes the reader ask
questions about their own morality. Questions, it transpires,
that are often too difficult to answer fully. For this,
if for nothing else, Reggie Nadelson should be lauded and
praised and her novel read as a fresh portrayal of life
as it happens on the other side of the criminal fence.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Formerly a Chef, publican, shop manager, supermarket shelf-filler,
library employee and deliverer of lambs, Chris High now dedicates
most of his time to writing and journalism. He has successfully collaborated
with singer Chris de Burgh on a collection of song based short stories
available from his Website, and is currently in
the process of completing his first Crime novel. Chris lives on Merseyside,
England, with his cat Tigger and his dog, Duke.
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