This book, unlike those named above, centers around a crime. A former national sports columnist who retired after the subjective of an investigative story killed himself returns to his hometown on Long Island. A high school student who covers high school basketball games for the local paper comes to the adult sportswriter with a possible clue in the death of the high school basketball manager’s death and its possible relationship to a hazing incident with the team.
So there’s your setup.
What follows is decent prose and a passable story interrupted too often with exposition about school hazing and its barbarity. I mean, brother, sodomy with a broomstick is enough in its description; you don’t have to have two separate characters in a limited omniscient point of view reflect at the page’s length about how brutal it is. I mean, we don’t get that sort of thing in other murder mysteries, unless I’m missing the entire cockfighting murder mystery subgenre (Well, I wouldn’t say I’m missing it, Bob).
The action builds credibly once you get past the editorials against high school hazing and the meticulous recounting of other incidents nationwide (almost requiring end notes). Until we get to the extraordinary double deus ex maquina at the end, where someone else sums up the story and lays it at our investigator’s feet and someone else appears to get the investigators out of the climactic jam at the end. Unsatisfying.
However, I still like Lupica and will gladly accept any and all gifts of his work in the future.