What Goes Around Comes Around follows the adventures of Brian McNulty, the red-diaper-baby bartender who (abetted by his father and son) attempts to keep Manhattan's crime solved and cocktail glasses brimming. Filling in for a friend at the fancy East Side saloon and eatery called The Ocean Club, McNulty finds more than he bargained for: a body floating in the East River.
Combining complex characters with strikingly offbeat perspectives on left versus right, old versus new, and the good guys versus the bad guys, What Goes Around Comes Around is the stunning follow-up to Lehane's series debut.
A repetitious and slogging plot weighs down Lehane's second Brian McNulty mystery, set in the late 1980s, a few years after the action in his well-received debut, Beware the Solitary Drinker (2002). When bartender McNulty finds an old acquaintance dead near the hotel where he works, he's drawn into a search for the killer by his mentor, John Wolinski, now an executive with a hospitality chain. The trail leads to Atlantic City, where McNulty met Wolinski, and to colleagues and crimes from the past. McNulty is a decent, persistent man with strong loyalties to old friends, his father's leftist politics and his union but his detective skills need honing. The reader becomes dizzy as McNulty travels back and forth across the Hudson, searching for shreds of clues that rarely advance the investigation until the solution almost falls in his lap. As in his first novel, Lehane empathizes with working stiffs and creates an arresting cast of colorful characters; he also brings alive the dark, offbeat world behind the facade of luxury hotels and bars. Hopefully, his next book will be as good as his first.