By Dennis Palumbo
A bank robbery goes wrong and one hostage survives. Doctor Daniel Rinaldi, a psychologist working with the Pittsburgh police is called in to handle the traumatized victim. From there, Rinaldi is in on every step of the subsequent investigation that seems to go awry with each new development. Plus, other factors are intruding into his life: his growing attraction for one of the detectives; her partner’s problem with divorce and alcoholism; a former patient’s suicide; and always in the forefront, a district attorney running for governor whose campaign is fraught with possible scandal and death threats.
I like it. There are enough subplots and twists to keep the main story from dragging.
Daniel Rinaldi: psychologist who works with the Pittsburgh police. His wife was killed by a mugger. Drives a ’69 Mustang, former boxer, likes jazz
Eleanor Lowrey: Detective, black
Harry Polk: police sergeant, Lowrey’s partner, alcoholic, smoker, recently divorced
Ledland Sinclair: district attorney running for governor
Brian Fletcher: Sinclair’s campaign manager
Stu Biegler: Lieutenant of Robbery/Homicide, wants to always be in charge and in the know
Treva Williams: Bank employee, only surviving hostage. Has a history with Eleanor.
A few other characters thrown in the mix, but everybody is well defined with unique personalities. Very well outlined characters and each get their own deserved attention. I wasn’t impressed with the bad guy, though. A little stilted with some typical bad guy lines. Yeah, he’s nasty but I don’t really get involved with him. He’s more of an annoyance than a character you ‘love to hate.’
Unique to each person. Almost always you can tell who’s speaking even without a tag line. You have a few characters who use profanity, but the personality of each shows the ‘quality’ of the words.
Polumbo uses a lot of fragmented sentences. Most of the time it’s okay, but sometimes the usage is distracting because the fragmentation is almost overdone. Some sentences you can easily fragment while others really need to be complete. I don’t mind the usage, except when it’s done several times per paragraph when a complete sentence probably would be better. And please forgive me for being dense, but I didn’t understand the title’s relation to the story.
The action is tight, the chapters are relatively short. It’s written in first person (Rinaldi). I thought for awhile how ‘realistic’ it would be to have a psychologist in every scene when a first person viewpoint is usually taken from a cop’s point of view. But it works and I like the separation, of someone outside the cops. Keep an eye on Polumbo for your collection.