Saturday, July 15, 2006

A Russian Cop Grows in Brooklyn

Reggie Nadelson's Russian-born NYPD detective Artie Cohen is one of the most interesting and complicated crime solvers to join the genre since S.J.Rozan's Lydia Chin. Like Rozan, Nadelson deliberately makes her prime character an outsider, living and working the nastier streets of New York but with a part of his soul still planted in the old USSR.

During an unusually fierce blizzard in the winter of 2003, Artie is called in to investigate a pile of bloody children's clothing found on a beach in Brooklyn, near the territory where Russian expatriates from gangsters to shopkeepers have settled into a colony. Cohen's search becomes personal in more ways than one: is he more Russian than American despite all his efforts to fit in? And is one of the dead or missing children his own godson? As the city still struggles to absorb the psychic damage of 9/11, Artie has to deal with his own demons. Nadelson's excellent series about him - this is book five - deserves much wider attention.