Stuart M. Kaminsky, the veteran author of more than forty novels and the creator of such wonderful characters as Abe Lieberman, Toby Peters, and Inpsector Rostnikov, has created a new PI: Lew Fonesca, a world-weary guy who got in a car and just started driving after his wife died and wound up in front of a Dairy Queen in Sarasota, Florida.
He now makes his way amid bail jumpers and lost wives, people who want to be found and those who will do anything to stay under their rock. He spends his days solving cases both big and small and trying to get by, while attempting to figure out how to make the rest of his life make sense.
Retribution not only picks up where the first novel in the series, Vengeance, left off, but raises the bar big-time. Lew has solved his share of cases, and most of them-to his pride-have wound up having happy endings; in Vengeance, he saved a young runaway who has had a childhood nobody should ever have, and she finally seems to be turning her life around. But when she becomes involved with a reclusive best selling author and several valuable manuscripts disappear, Lew knows that young Melanie is in way over her head. And if he doesn't act fast, not only could a few reputations get tarnished--the bodies might start piling up.
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Dysfunction drives the pr0lific Kaminsky's engrossing second Lew Fonesca novel (after 1999's Vengeance). Emotionally scarred by the hit-and-run death of his wife a few years earlier in Chicago, Lew lives in a room behind his office, uses the bathroom down the hall, showers at the gym, rides a bike and runs tapes of old movies night and day. He mostly keeps below the radar on the fringes of the lush Gulf Coast in Sarasota, Fla. With the help of his shrink, Ann Horowitz, he tries to come to terms with the tragedy while working as a process server. Vengeance chronicled Lew's search for and rescue of teenager Adele Hanford, sold by her father to a pimp. Under the foster care of wealthy eccentric Flo Zink, she goes missing again. Lew suspects that reclusive novelist Conrad Lonsberg, a mentor of sorts to Adele, may hold a key to her disappearance. And he thinks Adele's new boyfriend, who flips burgers and fears his abusive father, knows more than he's telling. At the same time, a mentally challenged man who cleans buildings in the neighborhood begs Lew to find his sister, gone for years. Almost immediately unsigned threats begin to appear on Lew's door and someone winds up dead. He appeals to trusted friends a family therapist and a tall, lean, 75-year-old fellow loner for help in finding the missing. Payback comes in many forms for Kaminsky's barely coping cast, and Lew still has a long way to go. Readers will be with him every painful step of the way. .FYI:So far this year Kaminsky has published a Porfiry Rostnikov novel,Murder on the Trans-Siberian Express (Forecasts, Sept. 3), and a Toby Peters mystery,A Few Minutes Past Midnight (Forecasts, June 11).