Death of a Brooklyn Landlord
by Susan Russo Anderson
A Mystery, A Kidnapping, A Missing Mom … The First Book in a NEW Spinoff Series!
When newly widowed Lorraine McDuffy gets a call in the middle of the night, it’s not the ghost of her dead husband on the line, but the trembling voice of an old flame, Frank Rizzo, a local butcher. He’s found the battered body of rent-gouging Brooklyn landlord Viktor Charnov. Felled by blunt trauma to the back of his head, the victim lies in the fetal position in the back of Frank’s shop, a pork chop clenched between his teeth. The distraught butcher asks Lorraine to investigate.
As the story moves through the entangled web left behind by the landlord’s evil dealings, Lorraine searches for Viktor’s estranged wife as well as a missing teen with ties to the landlord, believed to have jumped in despair from the Brooklyn Bridge two months earlier. Along the way, Lorraine spars with Detective First Grade Jane Templeton and cares for the victim’s ten-year-old son, baseball-loving Joey Charnov, while she searches for his mother. And despite her guilt, Lorraine and Frank deepen their relationship in fits and starts.
If you’re a fan of Fina Fitzgibbons and her crew, you’ll recognize the main characters in this new series—Lorraine McDuffy, Fina’s mother-in-law and protagonist in charge of the Fina Fitzgibbons Detective Agency while Fina and Denny are on their honeymoon; detectives Jane Templeton and Willoughby, her partner Minnie, admin assistant at Lucy’s and now taking on a greater role in the agency; Cookie and her husband, Clancy; and a newcomer, Fina’s estranged father, Paddy Fitzgibbons, who creates his own boozy havoc as he tangles with Lorraine and Cookie.
Fina and Denny are on their honeymoon so Lorraine takes over the business until they get back. Her first case hits close to home when she gets a call Frank Rizzo, a local butcher and an old flame. He has a dead body in his shop and it happens to be his landlord who just doubled his rent. Lorraine rushes to his side to check things out for herself, and then she calls him a lawyer, and then she calls detective Jane Templeton. Fina’s detective agency begins to work side by side with the police due to a shortage of man hours. They find this case may also tie in to a case of a missing teenager.
I am just amazed at how many stories contain a thread about suicide. Since my son took his life last March it seems to pop up in so many of the stories I read. Maybe it was there before but I am hypersensitive to it now. In this story it was minor enough not to make me put the book down and walk away but it still gave me pause.
I like Lorraine, she is moving on with her life after her husband’s passing and throws herself into this investigation. She stands up to the power that be and is able to care for the victims 10 year old son while she tries to find his mother. The case takes her in many directions but she is able to stay focused. Fina’s father plays a major role in the story and for me the jury is still out on him. I am not sure if his intentions are true and he still has a lot to work out to get his life on track. Like in the main series the police detectives drive me crazy. The relationship between Lorraine and Frank surprised me as things heat up pretty quickly.
I am not sure if a story like this could take place in real life. The police are basically led around by the nose by the private investigators, but it sure does make for some entertaining reading. I am also concerned about the overlap in characters from the main series and this spin off. It will be interesting to see how this set of stories moves forward.
The story can read as a stand alone but reading the original stories will help you keep track of the vast number of characters.
About The Author
Susan Russo Anderson is a writer, a mother, a member of Sisters in Crime, a graduate of Marquette University. She’s taught language arts and creative writing, worked for a publisher, an airline, an opera company. Like Faulkner’s Dilsey, she’s seen the best and the worst, the first and the last. Through it all, and to understand it somewhat, she writes. Too Quiet in Brooklyn, the first book in the Fina Fitzgibbons Brooklyn mystery series, published December 2013. The second book in the series, Missing Brandy, about a missing teen, published September 2014, and Whiskey’s Gone, about the abduction of a single mom, completes a trilogy. Fina’s fourth book, THE BROOKLYN DROP, published August 2015.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”