THE NINTH STEP

Author(s): 

Cohen’s latest Jack Leightner novel might be the best so far. The borough of Brooklyn shines as brightly as the conflicted, haunted lead character, standing in for the world at large. Cohen tells a gripping story of guilt and revenge, terrorist threats and neighborhood ties and throws in a little-known historical event for good measure. Riveting!

A stranger knocks on Jack’s door and confesses to killing Jack’s brother during a mugging in 1965. Jack has always blamed himself for Petey’s death, and he’s shocked when the stranger claims a Mafioso hired him to mug Jack and Petey. Before he has time to process this information, he’s called in to investigate a murder committed by a Pakistani man at a Coney Island deli. It all seems cut-and-dried, until Homeland Security steps in and confiscates the NYPD’s evidence. Hamstrung, a puzzled Leightner and his partner work doggedly on the deli murder case. On his off hours, Leightner prowls Brooklyn in search of the mysterious Mafioso. (Minotaur, Jun., 288 pp., $24.99)
Reviewed by: 
Liz French