A Sam Acquillo Mystery by Chris Knopf
Review: When an old man, a former bartender in the Bronx, wants to clear his conscience about a night in which a customer was murdered in his bar, beaten to death in the men's room, Sam Acquillo wants nothing to do with it. That the dead man happened to be his father makes no difference to him, in Back Lash, the seventh mystery in this series by Chris Knopf.
But Sam is convinced to at least hear what Marcelo "Bonnie" Bonaventure has to say. And despite severe reservations in stepping back into the past, he's intrigued by the unsolved murder of his father. He connects with NYPD homicide detective Madelyn Wollencroft, who works exclusively on cold cases, and while initially skeptical that any case forty years old can be solved, she agrees to look into it. And what she finds — or rather doesn't find — makes her think there is something very suspicious about the murder. As Sam and Madelyn begin dredging through old records and interviewing people still around, it's clear that someone doesn't appreciate their efforts, and puts their lives in mortal danger.
The previous books in this series have been outstanding examples of crime fiction, but Back Lash seems somewhat unfinished, not nearly as polished as its predecessors. The plot is weakly structured and underwhelming in terms of interest, and the narrative, usually the hallmark of this series' books, is undistinguished. To be sure, it's well-written but merely average in scope and content. And that's, at best, faint praise. Maybe it's because Sam is so reticent to be involved in the investigation that that reluctance translates into an unenthusiastic response from the reader. Highly personal cases for private investigators or amateur sleuths rarely play out well, and this latest case for Sam Acquillo just seems to confirm that. Don't judge the entire series by this one book; as a whole it is better, much better, than this single entry.
Acknowledgment: The Permanent Press provided an ARC of Back Lash for this review.
Review Copyright © 2016 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Permanent Press (Hardcover), May 2009
ISBN-13: 9781579623937; ISBN-10: 157962183X
Location(s) referenced in Back Lash: The Hamptons, Long Island; Bronx, New York
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Back Lash by Chris Knopf — A Sam Acquillo Mystery
Publisher: The Permanent Press
Publication Date: May 2016
List Price: $29.00
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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